When you're trying to be a published author, as much as you eat, breath, sleep and sweat YOUR story, you have to know how to adapt. Because at some point you're going to give that story to an audience, whether it's friends, family, strangers or editors, and your story will have to fulfil their needs (especially the editors, if you want to get published!) Therefore you have to be willing to consider that maybe, just maybe, you are not the only person invested in your characters and that others may have valid and, dare I say it, an even better idea of your story's failings than you do.
Now I'm certainly not saying everything they say will be right, or indeed warranted. What I am saying is that you need to keep an open mind, gain some perspective and steel your yourself for the rough times ahead. Because as much as we'd like our stories to be bought as is, without alterations, the likelihood of that happening is, I'm guessing, fairly close to nil! (Though I've heard of at least one exception.)
As for me, I pigeon holed myself into thinking I was going to be purely paranormal, well guess what, I'm attempting my first contemporary story, and if that wasn't enough I'm going to enter it into a competition! Mills and Boon's New Voices. I'm adapting a story I'd barely started, and one was originally going to be paranormal. It's going to be an interesting endeavour, in regards to how well I'll handle the criticism and how I'll manage to write not only a novel (my first) but also one without any paranormal elements.
I'm hoping my little experiment is a success, not necessarily in terms of the competition, but in proving to myself, that I can go beyond what I thought I was capable of. Wish me luck.