Stories are hard!
I'm doing a sci-fi-ish sort of story right now, and so I'm realizing that afresh. I started from a position of "I could do better than that," and after wrestling with it for a bit I am definitely more respectful of the hacks (and more in awe of the ones who pull it off).
The trickiest line, I find, is being original while also satisfying. So many stories have already been done. Usually they've been done for a reason -- if you stray too far away, it can be really hard to reel things in and make it satisfying and not just "Series of Unfortunate Events" or "Lost" silliness.
So I vacillate between "ugh that's too much like [insert storyline here]" and "but that makes no sense."
I started out just going ahead with hackness (lots of echoes of other storylines, but it held together), that was going easily but then I started to like elements of the story and the characters too much and decided not to sacrifice them to hack. Then things got WAY harder.
Anyway, interested in Chai's review.