It happens to the best writers. Even in the middle of a draft that’s going well and with a well-detailed outline, sometimes we get stuck on a scene. It might be that we’ve opened a huge plot hole we don’t know how to close. Or, we’ve written our characters into an impossible situation and were hoping to have a clever answer to get them out of it again that just isn’t coming.
Hopefully some of these will help. Instead of trying to push through and write your way out, take a couple of minutes and answer these questions about your current sticky scene. When you’ve answered them all, come back and see which answers spark more ideas and use those ideas to continue the current scene.
Remember! There are no limits to the answers here, even if they seem ridiculous or don’t fit your current genre conventions. You can edit or come up with a reasonable explanation for it later. Right now is just for unsticking your scene.
- What would happen if you killed your current PoV character?
- What clichés fit your protagonist and how can you change them?
- How would your supporting characters react to their biggest fears appearing in the current scene?
- Which supporting character has a reason to defect to the other side?
- Which family member’s death would affect your protagonist the most?
- Which character has most recently told a lie and what was it?
- What stereotypes fit your antagonist and how can you change them?
- What would happen if your protagonist’s mother came in on the current scene?
- What would happen if your antagonist’s mother came into the current scene?
- How would your antagonist react to your protagonist revealing their darkest secret?
- What would change about the current scene if you set it in a busy mall? An abandoned house? A thick forest? An open plain?
- What would make your Love Interest fall for the antagonist?
- How would your current scene to change if you switched the protagonist with a supporting character?
- What’s one threat that would make the antagonist and the protagonist work together?
- What one thing would make the antagonist give up?
If none of these work, consider skipping ahead to the next scene. You might find hints and clues about how your stuck scene resolved as you develop the next.