Is there such a thing as an editor you can hire to help you with a revise or resubmit or help you interpret comments from agents and editors? I've received two revise and resubmits from agents so far (and one editor was also generous enough to give me a lot of comments) on my manuscript. They're helpful comments, insightful, and I can sort of see a pattern emerging BUT it doesn't really help me the revision itself because my main problem is I can't seem to figure out exactly what to do or where to start revising. Does that make sense? I feel like I'm simultaneously overthinking this AND underthinking it. Like, it's super helpful to have feedback that says, eg, "you characters don't know what they want" or "it would be great to see this character and that character be more opposed to each other", but it doesn't really help me figure out how to do this. Also, this is a book that's already been rewritten and edited quite extensively over a few years, and yet it keeps yielding comments like "we're interested BUT we'd like to see x, y, and z". I feel like I need someone to help me craft a revision plan around these comments, one that I can follow. Does such a thing exist?
Your first question about hiring someone to interpret comments is easy: don't do it. It's like hiring someone to figure out why your boyfriend left you. The only thing that matters here is the agent/editor is saying no. Revise and resubmit is not yes.
What you're asking for (it doesn't really help me figure out how to do this) is a checklist or directions on how to fix your ms. There isn't one. Learning how to write a good compelling novel is something you learn by doing. It's the ONLY way you learn. Sure you can pick up some tricks along the way from craft books, and watching the masters at work in their books, but that's the most help you're going to get.
Consider the two examples you've used: "your characters don't know what they want" or "it would be great to see this character and that character be more opposed to each other"
Go back to books you've read and loved. Do you know what the character wants? HOW did you learn it? How did the author show it? Study books that work to see how yours doesn't.
Study how the writers of your favorite book show conflict. Are there some books where the conflict seems tepid? What is missing from that book?
Often bad, or unsuccessful books are just as illuminating as the good ones. Great authors make it look easy. The big splats show you that it really really isn't.
I can tell you what's wrong in any given book: lack of world building, slow pacing, too much set up, no plot, but the writer is the one who has to build the world, pick up the pace, start the story in the right place, and figure out what's at stake.
I sense your frustration here. It feels like Yes is so close but just out of reach.
And I'm really sorry to say this again, but there are no short cuts here. You simply have to write your way to a publishable book.
It's clear you've got some serious skills already if you're getting requests.
You're playing JV basketball.
You have to figure out what you need to get to the varsity league.
Start with a reading binge, and your writer's notebook close at hand.
Treat yourself to a new notebook and a new pen if that will give you a sense of starting out fresh. Take cookie breaks.
Feed the kids if they insist, but honestly, letting them figure out how to work the barbeque is a good idea, don't you think?