Unfortunately, my muse seems to have gotten stuck in complicated-serious mode. Perhaps it is suffering from a guilt-complex over designing torture devices in a past life? A cheerful story attacked it in its crib? I can only speculate.
The simple ideas all seem too cliche or predictable or shallow. Maybe I need to go paging though my anthologies for people who did straight-forward stories really well, for inspiration.
Similarly, the upbeat ideas seem too cliche or predictable or lacking tension. I guess what I want is not so much a light-hearted plot or a happy ending, but a main character who is a strong, likable, confident person. There are too many conflicted personalities inhabiting my brain. I can imagine the sort of character I want, but she's perfectly content lounging around and watching the tortured souls go through the creative wringer. Slacker.
Would like to work with "Field Test", but damned if it doesn't fall into the complicated-serious category.
Ah well. I know how to climb out of a rut. One hand-hold at a time.