Anyway, my workshopping group read the first 25,000 words or so a while ago, and gave some feedback. Their main point - agreed by all - was that my main male character was creepy. 'Yuck', I think was the overall verdict, accompanied by a shudder. Of course I pretended that that was funny - ha ha ha ha ha, I chortled - but inside I was appalled. How could they think he was creepy? He was utterly gorgeous and wonderful and seductive.
Yesterday I started rewriting the bits where he appears and...shock! horror! - he's a creep!
How could I not have seen it? It's been like going out with some bloke who you think is the love of your life, then he dumps you, you dissolve into a soggy, broken-hearted mess for a few weeks/months, then a year later you bump into him again and think - What was I thinking of? How could I? He's so short/fat/ugly/boring/miserable/creepy...
My eyes have been so opened to my character's creepiness that I've decided I can't rewrite his sections, I'll have to completely write those scenes afresh without looking at the first draft just in case his latent creepiness creeps in again. It means lots of new work, which is a nuisance as I really want to get this novel moving along, but there it is.
What I thought I'd written wasn't what I'd written. It took a) feedback and b) time for me to see it for myself. Sometimes you don't write what you think you've written, and that's just something a writer has to accept.