See, yesterday I was feeling kind of down, because I wrote for a couple hours, and then I realized that I couldn't use what I'd written, and that all the things I suspected were wrong with the new PL outline really were wrong with it, and I didn't know how to make them right. So Chris stopped working on his own stuff and sat with me. We talked through what the problems were and what exactly felt wrong about them, and after a while I figured out exactly what felt off. (The big problem was motivation. In theory, Lucy's motivation through the whole story was her desire to find her mom. But that wasn't working so well because a) there was very little she could do in most scenes to actively try to find her mom, and b) after she finds out that she's being used to get to her mom, she shouldn't want to find her mom any more, because that would lead the bad guys to her.)
Maybe I could have figured out all that on my own. But I wouldn't have figured it out then (because I was too caught up in being frustrated to talk myself through it), and I might not have figured it out so quickly. Chris has been studying problem-solving theories and narrative structure and cool stuff like that, so he has lots of strategies for this sort of thing.
Anyway, the happy ending is, this morning I sat down, having thought about motivations all yesterday, and I re-outlined the novel again. Except this time Lucy's motivations make sense, and it feels right. I'm sure I will run into other problems, because this is a tricky book, but that's the biggest one. Now I can move forward again!
So, three cheers for Chris! :D And feel free to share any of your own stories of awesome SOs or friends or whomever.
*Or common-law husband or partner or some other term for 'person I am all but married to' that I am not aware of.