Oh, shoot me. It's been three weeks that I've licked my wounds enough to write this. My beloved friends hated, I mean really hated, Chapter Eight. They said my character would never have made the choice she did.
Now, normally, I don't argue with their opinions, because they are talented writers and adept readers. If they say something doesn't work, it doesn't work on some level and must be re-written. But this character came about as a form of catharsis after the death of my father. And I know her like the back of my hand. Apparently not, because not a one of my critique partners agreed with what she did. They said she would never have chosen to do what I "made" her do.
In the interim, I've thought about my husband's answer years ago to "Why did you fall in love with me?" My alpha-male-to-the max husband said, "Because you're not a normal woman." Well, after I almost cold-cocked him, he explained that I didn't behave like most women. He reeled off his list of "typical" female behaviors. His comment still makes sense because I was "socialized" by a pack of wolves taking the same physics and math classes. My geeky guy friends had no more social skills than I had. With no close female friends during those formative years--thank goodness that's very different now!--I still, obviously, at times think as I did years ago.
So I've examined my heroine's actions and revised them for her true character, instead of forcing her to do what I would have done. Interesting how we conceive a character, but that character grows beyond us into her own person. I guess that's one reason I write.