Okay, so our bathroom shower has a textured floor. I could NOT keep it clean. Finally, I gave up. After straight bleach didn't work, I despaired of ever getting it clean again. At the worst, it looked like this:
I warned you...disgusting! (I know, you want nothing to do with me ever again, now...)
But I kept trying. I tried EVERYTHING I could think of. And I finally hit on the trick. Dow Scrubbing Bubbles, left on for hours before rinsing. (They say a few minutes, but hours work better. I have been spraying them on in the morning after our showers and leaving them till bedtime.)
Little by little, it began to get better. Last night, when I rinsed the floor, it looked like this:
As you can see, there is still work to be done, but the difference is AMAZING!
But what does this have to do with writing, you ask? It's a metaphor, son...
A lot of times, our first drafts are like the Before picture. Nasty, ugly, wretched things that you feel a bit embarrassed to show your best friend, much less the world. You feel like giving up. It's too much work to figure out a way to fix it. You try everything, and nothing makes it better.
But somewhere, underneath all that crud is something clean and lovely. "Never give up, never surrender!" as the Galaxy Quest cast would say.
Keep trying things.
Maybe you need a new point-of-view. Try rewriting it in first person instead of third.
Maybe you are telling the story from the wrong character's perspective. Try rewriting it in another character's voice.
Polish and elbow grease are the best tools for success. Tweak one aspect of the story and send it to a pair of fresh eyes. What does your new beta reader say?
Don't forget the rich tradition of rejection after rejection until an author hits the right editor at the right moment and becomes a Household Word. :)
And don't forget that crucial step of letting a project rest for awhile before doing more clean-up. It can save you a draft or two. ;)
Above all, persevere!