We all get stuck and it sucks. Sometimes we are so entrenched in our stories that we can’t think of a way out. NaNoWriMo is starting next week. Somewhere between 1 and 30 November chances are you are going to get stuck.
When we chase word counts we become desperate. We add characters, settings and write pages of description just to reach the goal. We make all the classic overwriting mistakes. We add, because well, what else are you supposed to do?
I wrote this post last year: The Cell Phone Reaction – How To Make The Most Of Your Scenes, where I discuss how we often overlook the scenes we already have. Below you will find a worksheet to help you. When you get stuck you should use it to brainstorm. By completing this you will have options for more scenes.
Take a look at this example:
You character runs into her ex. What happens next? I have given you three scenarios, three ways they might play out, and three possible results from each interaction.
① She approaches him
1. They chat
He asks for her new number
She spills coffee on him
He is still an idiot
2. They wave and walk on
She walks up to her husband
She calls her BFF
She calls her shrink
3. He is with his new wife
She meets the wife
He is having a fight with his wife
They make out in front of her
② He pretends he doesn’t know her
1. She cries
He broke her heart
He cheated with her sister
He was already married
2. She laughs
Thank heavens it is over
It’s why she started to travel
At least she has a lovely child
3. He walks into the glass door
She helps him up
He bursts into tears
He is seriously injured
③ She hides behind the fern
1. She watches him meet her BFF
She takes a pic and posts it to Facebook
She confronts them
She runs away, they don’t see her
2. He finds her and teases her
She bursts into tears
They make up
He gets a restraining order
3. She overhears him telling his friend he still loves her
She confronts him
She calls the police
She must tell him about the baby
Not all of these would work for your story, but they certainly give you a place to go. Think of it as an idea tree. It can keep growing. Each of these ideas will give you another and you can keep adding. I hope it helps.
Here is the free worksheet for you to download and use.
Good luck and think big.
If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course.
by Mia Botha
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