Sometimes unpublished writers ask -- if they ask for the full manuscript, does that mean I can edit the first three chapters?
ANSWER: Yes, you want to submit the strongest manuscript possible. If in the interim, you have discovered a better way to show the readers in the first three chapters, go for it. It is vital that the first three chapters grab and hold the reader.
When I get revisions, can I make major changes like the backstory? Cutting characters? Moving scenes etc etc?
ANSWER: Yes, if it makes the story stronger. Revisions are all about making the story as strong as possible and sometimes the problems lie within the backstory or within the structure of the story. The types of revisions you are given is often dependant on the editor's perception of your skill as a writer in doing revisions and the way she can see to fix some of the problems. When you are given revisions, it is because the editor believes in you and your ability to write.
Always ask yourself -- what is the editor truly asking here? And what is the problem that she is seeing? And why?
Ultimately the editor wants the strongest possible book to go out into the world.
Strong stories that speak to readers should be the goal of every writer whatever their stage in their career.
Right now, I hope I write strong stories...My fingers remain crossed that I did the revisions correctly. And I am hoping my new story will be truly powerful. Ah, my old friends -- The Corws of Doubt have come circling.