I think trying to work one's way out of problematic theoretical knots is similar to figuring out plot problems/solutions. In revising my article on Twilight for publication, an article which reads the implications of the phenomenon positively instead of negatively, I find myself navigating feminisms to work out an alternative reading from the easy and obvious--that Twilight is bad, bad, bad and gives negative examples of a passive female main character. Ok, yes in some instances it does, and it certainly reflects a conservative ideology in places, but at the same time, it taps into a female fantasy that is so well done it has become virulently popular. My question is, why? What psychological needs is it meeting? And can we provide an answer that doesn't result in saying women/girl readers are stupid/bad//wrong and should feel guilty for liking it?
Plot-wise, I just watched an episode of Stargate Universe for the first time last night, and it reminded me of the importance of constantly creating "doom moments" where it seems like there is no way out and everybody is going to die. I think really every action sequence should have a moment like this, it makes the reversal (after the author ingeniuslly writes a way out of the doom) that much more satisfying. However, creating these moments (unless you are Joss Whedon who revels in them) can be difficult as a writer, uncomfortable in much the same way tackling difficult theoretically dilemmas can be. On both fronts, I'm forcing myself into the difficult places, because the results are always worth it.