Stuck In The Middle Of A Scene? Do This.

9 interesting ways to advance a story.

Writer’s block happens to the best of us. If you’re stuck in the middle of a scene, here are 9 interesting ways to advance your story. You can use as many of these methods as you want.

I made a printable infographic for you to download at the bottom of this email, but first, lets go over the list.

#1: Kill Someone

The undisputed king of overcoming writer’s block is death. Killing a character will instantly move your story forward. A person’s death impacts everyone around them, and breathes life into a withered storyline.

Choose a character, major or minor, and write their demise. Write about the killer. Write about the victim’s families. Write about other people’s reaction to their death. Use the character’s body to fuel the flames of your story.

#2: Ask: “What Could Go Wrong?”

Maybe your characters have it too easy. Every hero needs a proper challenge. Ask yourself “what could go wrong with the plan?”, then write exactly how it goes wrong. Make life as difficult as you can for your characters. Shovel heaps of trouble at them. Then, write about all the clever and brave ways they overcome the trouble.

#3: Switch Your Point-Of-View (POV)

Maybe the narration is getting stale. Combat that by changing your POV to a minor character, the antagonist, a passerby, a tree, or something else.

Halfway through Liu Cixin’s sci-fi epic Death’s End, he suddenly switches to the POV of a hyper-advanced alien being. This POV helps him write about an attack on earth in a fresh, engaging way. He uses this POV once and never revisits it.

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#4: Skip To The Next Scene

Stop writing whatever scene you’re struggling with and skip to the next one you’d like to write. It’s ok to take a breather and go back to it.

#5: Write The Ending

Don’t know how to continue? Write the ending first. By fleshing out the ending, you force yourself to consider how to get there. In a way, the ending contains the essence of the story.

There’s another benefit to writing the ending first: if you know the ending, you’ll know everything that doesn’t move the story towards the ending. This helps you decide what to write. Knowing the ending is like knowing the destination of a road trip. If nothing else, it helps with navigation.

#6: Write Sexy

If you’re stuck, truly stuck, write a sex scene! Surprise the reader with something funny, lewd, rude, or crude. These scenes keep things interesting. They break up the pace of the story and allow the reader a bit of relief from the tension.

And let’s be honest, sex sells.

#7: Use A Writing Prompt

Use online writing prompts to get your gears turning. Borrow a sentence from someone else. Introduce an interesting concept. Give yourself an arbitrary constraint. All these things can help you get out of a rut.

#8: Switch The Mode Of Writing

In a previous article, I showed you the four modes of fiction writing: action, dialogue, description, and narration. If you’re stuck in a scene, switching the mode of writing will give you a much-needed breath of fresh air.

For example, a dialogue-heavy scene might benefit from a few narration passages. Narration allows the reader to peer into the character’s thoughts and feelings.

#9: Read A Book

Finally, reading a book is a great way to get out of a rut. Reading a good book will give your writer brain a break. Think of it as a mental vacation.

As you read, you’ll pick up plot ideas and writing patterns. That way, you’ll return to your story with a fresh perspective.

Infographic: Stuck In The Middle Of A Scene?


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