I wrote awhile back that I was considering shortening my novel, "Riverbend," to make it more commercial.
As I got into it, I realized what I needed to do was dig deeper into the characters, their hopes and dreams, their failures and hard-won victories.
As a result, I added several thousand words. And I'm not finished.
But oh, so close. It's taking awhile because it is emotionally exhausting getting into a character's head. Seriously. I write a scene and when it is done I have to leave the story and think about something else for awhile.
I get mad at the characters for their foolish decisions and want to do a happy dance when they finally get it right.
Then there are the literary "rules" I have to follow. What is the plot? The character arc?
Most writers have this sorted out before they write the first word. I'm a "pantser." (The term evolved from early airplane pilots didn't have instruments and had to fly "by the seat of their pants.")
There is a plot, of course, or there wouldn't be a story. Lonely wife, a seducer on the prowl, a deranged and jealous rival, and the rigid rules of society that rule them all.
Or are those the characters? It gets complicated.
Love is the key. Love that ennobles and love that destroys.
A woman discovers her deepest desire is not what she thought.
A man finds redemption in sacrifice. (And he is not the hero.)
I made a pledge to finish the book by the end of this month. It looks like I might make it, but it will be like coming back from a long journey, leaving new friends behind.