I recently did some work on Chapter 2 which might fall into the "minor surgery" category. It all started when I was sent some feedback on the section in chapter 2 when Ghost and Sheam first meet. My reader (who is a CoSaS team member) felt that Ghost didn't seem quite himself. I read over it, tried to justify the reader's concerns, and felt that that-was-that. But it nagged at me, so I asked another reader, (one of the original COT authors) to take a look at that scene and see if it felt right to her. She responded saying that it did not seem right, and that Sheam didn't seem to be really acting in character, and gave specific examples of sentences and paragraphs that seemed off, and why they seemed off. At this point I was growing quite concerned, so I asked a third reader (someone who I hadn't known prior to COT's release and who has never heard of Thief) what she thought... and she liked the scene. She didn't want me to change it.
But by then I had made up my mind. I realized how important the scene was, and that it wasn't really doing the job I needed for it to do. So I dug in, deleting large portions of it and rewriting them. In the end, it was very easy to separate Sheam and Ghost from the existing text and completely rework the scene so that they were much more themselves. Once that draft was done, I showed it to my two critics. They felt it was much better! However the reader who liked it before was unhappy. She felt that it lacked what had made her enjoy the scene in the first place. So I slept on it.
The next day I tackled it again. With a few tweaks and edits, some additions and deletions, I sent it to all three of my helpful readers. I was finally happy with it, myself. The two critics though that the additional tweaks made it much better, and the original supporter now liked it again. Who says you can't please everyone? :P
Of course the work didn't end there. I had to edit three other sections to bring them up to date with the changes to that one (like I said, it was an important scene) which I think, all in all, improved those sections too. So, it was a win, win, win!
For those who already have read Chapter 2, the section in question is "Customer Service". I hope you'll take a peek at it to see what I've done with it.