I want to play off something Dave Wolverton/David Farland (http://www.davidfarland.net/) talked about in one of his 'daily kick' emails. He talked about stories needing to work on an internal as well as external level. He explains it much better than I do but basically there needs to be more going on that just the external plot. He uses a made-up example (unless Nerd Wars is real...gosh I hope not) but let me use Lord of the Rings.
The external plot of Lord of the Rings is the attempt to destroy the One Ring of Power. The internal plot is (and there are several) is Frodo's attempt to stave off the temptation of the ring. So when the climax of the novel comes, when Frodo, Sam and Gollum stand at the Crack of Doom, there are two climaxes here. One for the external plot and one for the internal plot for Frodo. (The fascinating thing about LOTR's climax is the way the internal plot DOESN'T meet our expectation but the external plot does.)
That's something I was trying to do, apparently subconsciously, with Angel Odyssey. On the one hand, it's a standard quest from home into the wider, wilder world and back again, to return Jael home and see her healed. But that's only the external plot. The internal plot for Jacob is the transition from boyhood to manhood and all the rites of passage boys go through. The internal plot for Jael is become human, to recognize her loneliness and the feelings she develops for Jacob. Ideally, Jael gets home, gets healed and gets love. Jacob becomes a man worth of loving and who's love is returned.
That's the plan anyway. The climaxes for those plots dont' take place at the same moment though. Maybe I'm not a good enough writer for that but I felt I had to stagger those a little over the course of three chapters instead at one, trancendant moment. Probably because real change and real relationships take time. If Jacob and Jael were to passionately declare their love and consummate their relationship at the Great Eyrie after Jael's wings are restored, it might be an exhilaration scene but to me, it wouldn't feel real. My goal is always to make things feel as real as possible, especially in an unreal setting like in Fantasy or Science Fiction.
But, I do want to be aware of both the internal and external plots. And I need to make sure both sides work.