All week, I've been reading James Scott Bell's book on Plot and Structure, which is excellent and accessible, probably the least daunting of all such books I've read. It's full of exercises, which I imagined I'd eschew but in fact I've enjoyed. One of the nicest things about the book is that not only did it remove my feelings of inadequacy about my skill for plotting and structure but it gave me a great boost in terms of my strengths. I CAN write great dialogue! I DO write compelling, memorable characters! These things are not easy, in fact many authors who are plot aces struggle with character and/or dialogue.
According to experts, the ability to write strong characters is linked to a laudable level of self-awareness - the better you know yourself, the better your characters. I blinked a bit at this, never having thought myself much cop in the self-awareness stakes. Then again, my stamina for this crime novel project has astounded me in the last week. I'd thought that second agent rejection had killed me dead in the water, but lo! I lived to write another day.
All this and keeping work and home happy too!