I'm tearing Le Corsaire apart so I can look closer at the pieces before I build it up again.
The way I first came up with it, the story was too big. I was going for this grand, piratey epic of a thing, but I wasn't enjoying it. Too much focus on themes and building characters; not enough action and just enjoying the setting. So, I started simplifying and reorganizing. Taking out or merging characters and plotlines. I know, I know. I've talked about this already.
But now that I've got the story boiled down to its essence, I'm realizing that I've also been telling it about the wrong guy. The guy I had figured for the hero has some interesting dilemmas, but the story gets bogged down in his sorting them out. By switching the focus to another character and letting the first guy deal with his crap without our having to watch, the story will move faster.
I've also decided to play up the supernatural aspects of the story. They were always there, but I think I was afraid of celebrating them for fear of drawing Pirates of the Caribbean comparisons. That's still a concern, but the story really is completely different, so I'm going to opt for the more fun way to tell it and try not to worry about superficial similarities.
Incidentally, Maxine Cantway has nothing to do with this post except that she had the good taste to dress like a pirate.