Actually, the Work-in-Progress has a problem.
Which is that the Characters are cruising competently through all the steps they need to solve the problem, without a setback, a misstep, or a single failure. This is not good.
It is, in fact, a good way to bore the reader.
Drat. Now I have to kill someone. Or at least injure them. Mere inconvenience doesn’t count. My main character has to . . . f . . . f . . . fail!
Not just a little oopsie, he has to fail big. Then get back up and try again. And again.
I’m sure I could make some sort of teaching moment out of this “and the moral of the story is that failure isn’t forever.” Or something like that. Fortunately life is not a narrative. Narrative exists to give us vicarious thrills and victories. In real life we do not have to fail, so that victory feels so much better.
In a story that’s not going to be flat out boring, we have to have the dark to emphasize the bright.
So, having figured out why my Muse was protesting, and refusing to write further . . . and after some minor fixes proved to be insufficient . . . I have to go eviscerate a two-thirds done manuscript.
Bad words are being said!
So here’s the previous story, which I am now afraid to analyze: