Then as I was talking about the problem of moving these characters 20 years into the future,a plot point that had me stymied, she calmly ate her pasta and said, "So, why do you have to do that? Why can't you keep the story in the present moment? It sounds as if you are trying to do what you did in Breathe and you really don't need to for this particular story. It's rich enough to be in one contained time period."
Instantly, there was another internal shock. Fireworks, really.
That one comment solved my major problems, focused the novel and gave me the voice.
I cannot tell you how freeing this was. How jazzed I am. How brimming with gratitude. Sometimes when you are so deep in the writing forest, not only do you not see the trees, you don't even see the forest.
And if you are very lucky, you have a loving friend with a powerful flashlight and an excellent sense of direction.