I'm finding that for this phase, I may need to walk the path alone a bit. To sit with the story and really understand where it is I want to take the reader. What is necessary to divulge, what isn't? I love my friend's feedback and their love and interest in my characters... but it's leading to a confusion about who they really are in my head.
I know everyone has their own opinion and I know that everyone takes with them what they need... So I can't appease everyone. I need to write what I would like to read - not what I think others would like to read.
So, for that reason... I'm closing the gateway, so to speak.
I need some time to sit with my characters and finish the book - alone. Perhaps going back to the beginning and cleaning things up before finishing the ending. I think by then, I will know the goal - the way it is TRULY supposed to go and I will be doing it for myself. They way I want it to be and no one else.
For my devoted, supportive friends/fans... don't take this as a slight. I love you. I just want to write the ending that this deserves and make you proud. But that means pulling myself inward and finding where it needs to go for the story's sake.