It won’t write itself, will it?

I’ve been working on the novella, and I’ve been learning things from myself again. I realized that I’ve been unwittingly subscribing to the socially constructed heterosexual dynamic in which the power to determine the course of the relationship belongs to the man. If the woman wants something from the relationship, she tells her friends, her mother, her coworkers, and her cat, but she only sighs and growls at her partner. If the man wants something, he asks her for it. Now I find myself trying to negotiate the relationship between Hillary, a 42-year-old corporate attorney, and the woman for whom she left her financier husband. Ava is 25 and an art student. Clearly, the financial power belongs to Hillary, but the sexual power seems to belong to Ava since this is Hillary’s first sexual relationship with another woman. Ava has been here before, and Hillary is feeling confused and vulnerable. Anyway, I was very clear on all this until this afternoon when Ava tried to ask Hillary to move in with her. The scene was floundering under the weight of stilted dialogue and lackluster sentiment. Hillary doesn’t want to move in with Ava; it’s too soon. But I couldn’t write it that way. Hillary doesn’t want to hurt Ava’s feelings. She wants her to understand that a lot has happened very quickly and she just needs to be on her own, in her own space for awhile. And Ava does understand. I had specific lines and ideas that I wanted to express, but I didn’t know to whom to assign them. Finally, I started giving Hillary all the power lines and Ava’s became reactionary. Then the scene was playing out like some creepy mother-daughter exercise in miscommunication. It reminded me of an earlier scene where Hillary suggests that she could be Ava’s mother. (Ava very dryly replies that that is impossible since her mother is Jewish.) Alas, the scene is struggling still, but I will master it.