I had another one of those days when my subconscious outwitted me. I've been struggling with a scene that I wrote one way, then realized it was all wrong, but I couldn't figure out how to fix it. I'd keep working on it, only to hit a wall at the same point. Yesterday, I was working on it and I actually fell asleep, right there with the computer on my lap desk. It wasn't deep sleep, just enough to be sort of daydreaming, and in that daydream I figured out what the end of the scene should really be. From there I figured I had more thinking to do, and I was worried about dropping the computer, so I put it back on my desk and settled down for some more brainstorming, interspersed with drowsing (hey, Edison did it, it's a wonderful way to tap into the subconscious), and I came up with something really cool. If I'd forced myself to keep writing instead of giving in and letting myself nap, I would have probably missed this major character turning point.
Meanwhile, it finally dawned on me why I got so sidetracked mentally by watching Aliens: the relationship between the two main characters in the book I'm working on is essentially an Aliens relationship. It's not overtly romantic, and the characters may not even be thinking in terms of romance, but it still hits a lot of the same "beats" as a romantic subplot. There are scenes that correspond to scenes that would be there if the story was really a romantic one, though they aren't romantic. The characters do recognize each other's strong points and find things to admire about each other. But they're in a situation where you'd think less of them if they were actually bothering to pursue a romantic relationship. There's a big issue relating to the plot, and then there's the context, where they both have much bigger priorities at the moment. You might imagine that there's potential there for later and that what they're dealing with now will give them a strong foundation for anything that does develop, but right now, it's not gonna happen and can't happen.
Realizing that made me go back through and re-analyze what I'm doing. I'm finding ways to strengthen those key scenes that maybe give that subtext hint of possible romance. I guess I already knew this was going on, but I hadn't thought about it. I have found that when I glom onto something like that and get very distracted by it, it usually is because it relates to something I'm working on, and once I figure that out, the distraction dissipates.
Now I think maybe I can stay awake and focused long enough to finally rewrite this scene.