Iâ€™m not a morning person.
But, I must admit, there is a certain beauty at this time of day.Â My kids are in school and the only sounds in my office are my fingers tapping the keyboard, the whistle of the heat pouring through the vents, and violin and piano notes streaming from my CD speakers.
It is Friday.Â And I have set aside a portion of this morning for a blog post, followed by fiction.Â I am in Chapter Fourteen of a novel that was begun a couple years ago, then set aside, then revived after a sudden insight helped me get â€œunstuck.â€
The Dreaded Middle, I call it.Â Iâ€™m a great beginner and finisher, but thereâ€™s often a spot in the middle where I ask myself the question â€œWhat now?â€Â What action should my main character take?Â Who can she meet?Â What is her motivation for doing what she is doing?Â If I put her in another situation, what will be the result?
When you get stuckâ€”and if you write anything more than a page in length, you willâ€”thereâ€™s a few things you can try:
- Take a break; after you pull your story back out, it will be easier to discern what to do.
- Read through what youâ€™ve already written to re-familiarize yourself with the foundation youâ€™ve laid, and build upon it.
- Do character sketches for your main characters; list their physical characteristics, their nicknames, their occupations, their likes and dislikes, their birth order, their parents and siblings.
- Do plot sketches for your main characters; put them in different situations and see what they do.
- Find a writing prompt (totally unrelated to your story) and spend 15 minutes writing on that topic; then return to your story.
No matter how many times you get stuck, keep at it!Â Eventually you will discover the solution you are waiting for.Â And be willing to be surprisedâ€”the solution may be something completely different than you expected but these twists often lead to even greater, layered storylines and characters.