First off, the wedding section of the ancient poem that is inspiring my modern retelling is both anti-feminist and thoroughly unromantic, so I needed to reshape events considerably while still keeping the interesting bits of the original story.
And more importantly, I can't exactly say that I've mastered romantic writing. The romances in my stories tend to be ones that are either already finished or doomed to fail before they even get started. But this romance needs to be happy and upbeat, because this is the high point of the story. Once the wedding's over, it's pretty much all tragedy for the rest of the book. It may seem easy to write a simple romance, but to make it good drama and interesting to read is super hard. At least for me.
So I've been rolling the original story around in my mind over and over, evolving it little by little, but it still wasn't working for me. This weekend, however, walking home from dim sum, I finally had a breakthrough. I figured out how to make it work, and instantly pages and pages of dialogue just started pouring out of my head. I sped myself to the nearest bar, ordered a beer, and wrote pretty steadily for the next two hours. I feel like I should have clear sailing for a little while now.