I think I have a fear of plot.
Honestly. It's sort of a new-ish thing, but I have this fear that any plot events I might come up with will be boring, trite, or forced.
I could happily spend several pages describing people and their surroundings, their backstories, moving characters in and out as they talk about nothing much of critical significance. It's like the written equivalent to walking on a treadmill--it feels like I've really gotten somewhere, and there sure are a lot of words on that page. But I know in my heart that I need to have them say plot-relevant things, and I need to actually make them DO stuff.
That's the moment where I sit frozen, unable to think of anything that doesn't seem like it came straight out of something I just read earlier that month, or something overdone that I've seen a million times on TV shows, or something based on a classic story structure that everyone will immediately recognize and not want to read again.
For example, I'm writing this new short story that I quite like so far. The narrator is a guy working as a barista in a coffee house. I have this idea that during the course of the story, he actually serves as the vehicle for several mini-stories as customers come in and order from him. When I ask myself what the point of the story is, my brain returns with "something about interpersonal responsibility, the line between observer and actor, stepping out from behind the counter" and other high-minded-sounding drivel. But yes, I do have a point in mind, kinda sorta. But I can't think of actual story events which serve that ultimate purpose that don't seem nauseatingly dull or glaringly artificial.
I've only come up with two possible answers. One is that the premise or the setup might be inherently flawed—that is, maybe I'm having trouble because it's just plain lame to try to put a meaningful story behind the counter of a coffee house. The other thought I had is that maybe I just need to take one of the lame-seeming options and disguise the hell out of it with a cleverly devised disguise of good writing. If I can write well enough, nobody will ever know how lame it actually is, or won't realize until it's too late and they're done reading. Any other ideas? 'Cuz I'm out.