Sometimes our stories are like that too. The small problems we see on the surface might actually be a symptom of a more significant foundational problem that can take a lot of work to fix. For example, a number of years back I wrote a middle grade fantasy novel that garnered interest from a few editors, but not to the point where I received any offers. I thought that was about to change with one editor who praised it up and down. Some of the other editors at the house thoroughly enjoyed it as well, but it hit a road block when it reached the head honcho at the publisher. The final comment came back saying even though we loved your writing, we felt the novel wasn’t quite original enough.
That response really took me by surprise. I couldn’t figure out what they were talking about. The magic system was very original. The characters were very original. The story line was very original. What did they mean? I had to dig deeper to figure out what they were talking about and as I did I realized that I had some key foundational plot elements that had become cliché in the fantasy genre. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a quick fix. It would require some major re-landscaping of the plot, storyline, and character to fix it.