I did get a lot of thinking about my novel done, and I'm in a much better place to work on it now. I realized I'm not the type of writer that can just write without knowing where things are going. It's how I've always tried to write, and I always get frustrated and stop. I need to outline first. I need to write up psych profiles of my characters. The time structure of "write 50,000 words in a month!" is not the structure I need, but I do need structure.
So instead of writing this past month, I've been thinking and reading other people's work. I'm reading classic horror lately, finished up Frankenstein and I'm about 2/3 of the way through Dracula. The 2/3 point is where you stop saying, "Stop dicking around, Van Helsing, and just tell Seward about the fucking vampires already!" and start saying, "Wow, Victorian men were self-involved assholes. How can they not see that Mina is being attacked just like Lucy was?" Basically, the whole book is these guys (2 doctors, a lawyer, a lord, and a... cowboy?) standing around saying, "Huh! If only I wasn't sitting on my ass thinking I was so smart last night, the women folk might not be dropping dead around me." Mina is the only character with a brain and they deliberately shove her aside as soon as she has finished unraveling the mystery (and literally typing it all out) for them.
And on Frankenstein, people don't believe Mary Shelly wrote this herself? Obviously those people have never read 18 year old girl fan-fiction. Because that book reads *exactly* how I would expect an educated 18 year old to write; implausible flashback within flashback (within flashback) structure, overwrought emotions, and a bizarre author stand-in. Victor even has a slashy relationship with "best friend" Henry. In contrast to this, Victor's feelings for "true love" Elizabeth are a pale second best. But then, Mary Shelly was dating (and soon to marry) Percy Bysshe Shelly, and hanging out with Lord Byron, so maybe she thought that was normal. I'm sure there are feminist essays on this delving into how the Monster - thrown out of society for his outward appearance despite his intellect - is a comment on women's reduced role in the society of the time? She even made the monster a vegetarian, just like she was.