I've been working on Polaris's route for Han Bei v. Jin and can't find the right balance for the guys. Jin was supposed to the withdrawn, sweet, big brother type character, but he turned out kind of jerky, though it fits with his messed-up childhood. Han Bei in the last book was a little overbearing, sarcastic, forceful and most notably, known for continuously flirting with the MC when he thought she was a man. I couldn't give him those traits in this book because he knows the MC is a woman, and not just any woman but a very important one in this route. Because he has to rein it in, Han Bei became less crazy than I expected and a lot more romantic.
So, my original sweet character turned nasty and the condescending one turned sweet... this makes choosing one or the other too darn easy and that's not what I'd like to convey. In Polaris: Emperor of Nan Rong, San An seemed the obvious choice because Kang Lang was a cross-dressing psycho in the beginning but once in the middle to the end, he became so prominent and fun that it was difficult to choose between the two (at least I thought so). In fact, I felt that the MC would have been genuinely happy with either man.
Right now, I'm brainstorming for a GOOD reason why the MC/reader would even choose Jin after the damaging emotional crap he's pulled. Or better yet, why wouldn't one choose Han Bei who is far superior in every way? I have a few ideas rattling around in my head but if I were the MC, I'd have proposed to Han Bei mid book. Good riddance, Jin! Just kidding. Jin's a good guy, just complicated.
This book will delve deeper into the MC's past and follow a more grown-up emotional premise instead of the innocent, action-packed, fun-filled, ridiculous adventure in Nan Rong. The reason why Bao Lai is also more reined in will be made clear (or... you can blame Jin). Instead of solely Nan Rong, Ning will also be the dominant backdrop. Of course I say that now but I'm nowhere near finish with the first draft, so who knows?
In conclusion... my head hurts.