With that conclusion brightening our day, we resolve to STFU and move on to writing issues.
So I showed a new G/B story outline to the spousal unit, asking if I was doing better with the conflict and the stakes-raising and the suffering and the infliction of misery on imaginary people belonging to corporate entities who are not me. First he said it was about as worthless as it's possible for fiction to be. Any fanfic with a whiff of sex gets that reaction from him, and he is deadly serious about it. Except not, because...
Then he said that if I replaced Olivia with Joyce, now that would be conflict.
Uh, head just exploded, I said. You're right, but that's too weird for me. At which point he said given the premise of the story, I had no grounds for complaining about anything being weird.
Then he told me what my first turning point/escalation moment needed to be. Then he asked me for a clear statement of the enemy to be defeated, the oppositional force, and didn't need to say anything when I had a hard time saying it concisely.
Sometimes I think we make one complete writer between us. I am good at things that give him fits, and he is good at things that give me fits. I'd suggest a collaboration with him, but we fight like Noel Coward characters any time we try. If we could refrain from killing each other over the topic of the importance of coffeehouses in the history of the East India Company, good things might happen. We'll never know.