So you’ve reached a hitch in your story. You’ve got a particular scene, or arc, or something that just isn’t letting you move forward and you’re pounding your head against the desk until your brains slip out.
That ‘s fine. It happens to the best of us. Especially when something unexpected pops up in your story and you run with it and next thing you know your’e hanging with some new found friends in Peru.
Take a moment. Breath. Here’s a few tips that I’ve found worked great whenever I’ve come across that thing people like to term writer’s block.
1. Take a break.
Go for a walk. Watch a movie. Read a book. Do something that has nothing to do with your book. Sure, you will probably be thinking about how you’re supposed to be working on that book but at the end of the day, when your mind is rested and refreshed, you’ll be thankful for the break.
2. Jump Scenes
Maybe that particular scene just isn’t coming to you. Could be something that needs to be worked out that you haven’t gotten to or your just not feeling this bit of the story. Try moving forward. Going to something you are excited about and work backwards. Sometimes figuring out the solutions first helps solve the problem. If that makes any sense. Or you could rewrite the scene in a different point of view. Escaping into a different perspective of the story sometimes helps those creative juices. Like seeing things from the villains out look to get back into the story. Either way. Shake things up.
3. Do some digging
Could be you don’t have a feel for the characters. That’s okay. That happens. Especially for those of us pantsers who dive right into a story with a single minded plan and a few ideas. I hate to say it but you need to do some planning. At least have a rough sketch of who your characters are and where they come from. Even if you do already know these things, sometimes your characters need a change of scenery to expose them a bit more.
I sometimes like to your write up backstories for my characters, or future stories. I have one short story written up that’s basically a origin story for one of my characters. Another short story that I have is based sometime after my original WIP and shows where a character could be going. Both of which are me just playing out scenarios that help expose my characters just a little bit more.
4.Talk It Out
Find a friend or fellow writer who knows about your WIP and willing to lend an ear. They can add some two cents to a particular scene or plot hole that is holding you back. Who knows maybe they’ll throw in some new idea that could completely change your story for the better. This happened when I was talking it out with my husband. He’s not a writer himself but doesn’t mean he didn’t have a few fresh takes on how to surprise my readers.
Then again you might not have anyone around. If that’s the case turn to the expert. Yourself. Hearing the story and its problems out loud can help you pinpoint where the kinks need to be worked out.
5. Push Through
Sometimes you just need to force your way through that sludge. Keep writing the story out. No matter if it’s nonsense and the characters are rambling on about a trip to Peru where they ate some funny tasting fish and woke up two days later in some wonky motel with a man named Bubba. Don’t stop. Just keep going. You can always edit that crap out later when the stories finished and you’ve gotten some perspective on how you want these bits to play out better.
You’ve gotten an interesting backstory about a trip to Peru and a bit of your characters been fleshed out while you rambled on from one paragraph to the next about Bubba and the funny tasting fish.
Walt Disney said it best when he said
“Keep moving forward.”