Getting stuck is usually a symptom of a larger problem–your story isn’t working.
Reasons You Might Get Stuck
1. You’re bored with the scene. If you’re bored writing, your reader will get bored reading. Maybe the scene lacks tension, or maybe it’s just not going where it needs to.
2. You’ve written yourself into a corner.
3. The plot is going someplace it shouldn’t.
4. There are other stressors going on in your life that are preventing you from focusing on writing. Self-care and mental health are important! That said, it’s usually one of the first three reasons.
You don’t have to try all of these. Usually one will work. It all depends on how you’re stuck.
1. First off, save a copy of your work. Make a “cut” folder or however you want to organize it, and throw all trimmed stuff there. It’s a lot easier to cut/change things when you know you can go back to it if you need to (though you won’t, because if it was working you wouldn’t be stuck).
2. Go back to an earlier point in the manuscript. It could be one scene back or a few chapters. Find the last place where the story was last flowing easily and look for forks in the road, decisions the characters made, reactions they had, then try something completely different. This is the one most likely to work.
3. Shit on your protagonist. Your main character needs conflict. If things are dragging, they may have it too easy. Give them a problem to solve. Make things go horribly wrong.
4. Have your character attacked by monkeys. Or ninjas. Or aliens. You might not be able to use the scene in your novel, but it will get you writing something interesting and chances are you can use a variation of the scene somewhere down the line (so save it).
5. Try writing the scene from a different character’s point of view. Even if you think you know how each character would react, getting into their POV will likely give you some new insight. Combining this with #2 also helps.
I hope you found these tips useful.
Copyright © 2019. Val Neil. All rights reserved.