19) You’re stuck. Really stuck. It’s not writer’s block, it’s ‘what in the hell happens next’ block. What do you do? How do you move forward?
I am at this point in two manuscripts right now, so it’s an excellent question for me. (Odd that, my having picked the writing prompt…)
I had been plotting, working on larger character arcs and the overall spine of the story. I wanted to move forward with the story at the same time and thought, “okay, now is the time to start outlining.” (I’m something of an outliner, working on a scene before I write it, and something of a wing-it type of writer)
So there I am, staring at my whiteboard, dry-erase marker in hand.
I’d outlined the idea of my next sequence: Hebrion and Silmande arrive. Their hope/expectation is to keep safe (Hebrion) and remain anonymous (Silmande), so of course, they are discovered. But, that’s really all I had. I don’t even know what the place looks like when they arrive, or where exactly they arrive, (Fantasy world…they need creating) what their plan is exactly when they arrive, and how they get spotted.
Staring at the whiteboard produced no more specifics than that.
I have one scene to write before that which is actually outlined, so I thought,Clearly, straight plotting isn’t working, let’s go to the source.
I walked away from my plotting and sat down to just write, hoping that writing the scene I did understand would lead to my mind unlocking the secrets of the next scene.
When all else fails, I switch modes. If staring at the blank computer screen for an hour isn’t prompting anything I get up and walk, talking to myself over the plot notes I have. (“Ok, so she thinks this, but how does that make her feel?”) If thinking over plot points and scene arcs isn’t helping, I go to the written word. Switching back and forth is how I keep discovering new things and (hopefully) move forward.