I've been working on my most recent novel, Princess, since May. I'm on version 4.2. Four because I have had 4 completely different endings, and .2 because of rearranged scenes, etc. (Yes, I'm a little bit OCD) And those different endings have been causing me undue amounts of stress. I could never find the right one for my characters and the story. Today, I finally hit on why. I had originally intended it to be a stand alone story. It's not. The characters have choices to make and not a single one of them will lead to an easy resolution - or a hard one - in 60 - 70 thousand words. Their world is changing. They're beginning a journey, and this particular novel is only the first step.
Now, why does this pose a problem? Because I have seen I don't know how many agents say things like they want a stand alone first novel, and if it sells, then they'll talk sequels. So I've been fighting with my story, not telling it as I feel it should be told, and trying to force it into a different shape, like I'm trying to reform a silly band.
Well, no more. I will let the story unfold as it should be. I will give it free reign, and if it's meant to be published, it will happen. If not, I will have one more novel under my belt, 70,000 more words of practice. But the story will be true.