View Full Version : I am...STUCK!

09-30-2014, 01:34 AM
OMG, its been almost two weeks since I finished chapter three and I still have nothing for chapter 4 but these words: "Father, may I speak with you...along?" I'M STUCK!!!

09-30-2014, 01:54 AM
Are you venting, or after suggestions?

If you want suggestions, I would suggest brainstorming. So, you have three chapters and "things" happened in them. Using a spreadsheet, or a big sheet of paper on the wall, or a white board, write the list of events, and then write things that could happen after.

So - character walks out the front door they:

Meet their neighbour
Slip on the path
Have a piano drop on their head
Find it is raining and walk back in to get their coat and pick up the all important phone call that changes their life/a piano crashes onto the path where they might have been standing if it hadn't been raining

Just do lots and lots of that. Then look at what you've got, see what grabs you to write further. Most of it will be garbage, but some of it might give you a giggle, and hopefully some will leap out at you as right for the character.

And btw - you did mean "alone" not "along" yes?

And if you can come up with no good reason for character to speak to father in private, delete that line and pick another. :D

Have fun.

09-30-2014, 02:05 AM
Bolero makes good suggestions. :)

There is also the Brainstorming Sandbox, if you can articulate the circumstances in your story that have you stuck enough to seek help. I note you've been a member for a while but this is your first post -- if you've lurked a bunch, you probably already know this, but if you engage the community and help out others, they'll be even more happy to help out you. It's a wonderful feedback loop of helpyness :)

09-30-2014, 02:22 AM
If I get stuck I go back a chapter and re-write, or remove, or change what I wrote before in case I wrote into a corner.

09-30-2014, 02:57 AM
Agreed that this might be better suited to Brainstorming, but some general ideas...

- What is this conversation about? How important is it that this person talks to their father alone?

- If the conversation takes place, what complications could arise from it? For instance, the MC wants to tell their father that they're engaged to a werewolf janitor. Maybe the MC's father is a racist who doesn't like werewolves. Or they're an elitist who doesn't like janitors. Or the MC marrying would screw up an inheritance, or fulfill a prophecy.

- If the conversation doesn't happen, what could go wrong? Maybe the MC decides to break off the engagement because they're too cowardly to confront their father about a forbidden love affair... leading to all sorts of Personal Issues, not to mention guilt when the werewolf lover is found stuffed into their own trash can next week. (Though it's a great incentive for the MC to turn supernatural detective, leading to the true love of their life.) Or maybe the MC elopes with the werewolf... only to find out that they were lied to and are now trapped in a nest of alien vampires (idiot MC should've realized werewolves don't exist; only aliens can shapeshift.)

Mostly, you need to figure out what story you're telling - where is the MC, what's wrong with their life or world, where do they need to be/what do they need to do to fix this (emotionally and/or physically), and how can you make that task as horrendously difficult as possible.

09-30-2014, 05:57 AM
OMG, its been almost two weeks since I finished chapter three and I still have nothing for chapter 4 but these words: "Father, may I speak with you...along?" I'M STUCK!!!

Step 1: Read this page (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CHANDLERSLAW). [Warning: TVTropes]
Step 2: To quote Homestar Runner (http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail78.html), "Appwy Wiberawwy."
Step 3: Enjoy the masterpiece you've created.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, "But Quinn, I'm writing a Regency Romance novel." Don't worry. That just makes it even better. Trust me. I'm a professional.

[Disclaimer: Don't trust him. He's not a professional.]

Cathy C
09-30-2014, 06:08 AM
Questions are your best friend when you're stuck. Such as:

Why does he need to talk to his father alone?
How does his father react to the request? Concern? Fear? Anger?
How do the rest of the people (who are obviously making his father NOT alone) react? Are they annoyed? Amused? Panicked?

The whole scene can be about them not talking, instead of them actually talking. Does one person in particular try to keep his father from going? Why? Can the father not go with him because he's needed in the room? Why?

Etc., etc... Have fun not with what he needs alone for, but what makes it impossible for him to get the alone time. :)

09-30-2014, 06:15 AM
Try writing a scene further along.
Try outlining.
Try doing the stuck scene as a flashback from the scene after it. (It's a clumsy way so I wouldn't recommend keeping those words, but knowing what needs to happen often jogs it out).
Decide if you need the scene you are planning and if you can just skip it.
Go for a walk or do something physical away from a computer.
Plan out the ways the next scene needs to move your plot or make your readers feel.

Those are most of my breaking writing block tricks.

09-30-2014, 03:13 PM
Delete the words that you have written for chapter four.

Write something else. Write scene directions. Write notes to yourself. Write a synopsis. Fast forward to chapter five. Tell a joke. Write absolute drivel that you know you are going to delete later.

Do anything except stare at those words.

Often when I get stuck it's because I have driven into a dead end. I have written a sentence that I can't answer or created a situation that I don't know how to get out of.

And what do we do when we find ourselves in a dead end street? We don't keep bashing the front of our car into the buildings at the end of the road hoping to make an exit.

We reverse back to the last bit of the road where we still had choices. And then we take a different turn.

And, yes, I know it sounds perverse. You want to put more words on the page and here I am telling you to delete some. They're precious things, those words. Surely we want to keep every last word?

Not if those words are the things that are stopping you.

10-01-2014, 04:43 AM
Just continue to write, even if it's nonsense, even if it has nothing to do with your plot. From doing that, you can certainly get ideas because your brain will be thinking ahead, and one of those ideas could bring you back to your impasse with a solution. Worrying over what to write at your mental snafu does you no good. Get that brain workin kid.

10-01-2014, 04:23 PM
Honestly, when I'm stuck on dialogue I kind of act it out.

I'm not crazy!

My husband would think I was crazy if he ever caught me...but that'd probably just add to the list.

But seriously, I'll usually try and get in my characters head and then I'll just start talking. Dialogue just flows when we're actually speaking out loud. Rarely do we actually think before we speak. That's gotten me through a few humps when I don't know what a character should say.

With anything else, sometimes I'll just skip straight to dialogue and go back and fluff up the scene later. Sometimes I'll skip it entirely and write a different scene until I feel more inspired. Just getting yourself writing again could help get the creative juices flowing again.

10-01-2014, 04:57 PM
I've just done the same kind of thing with my WIP. I've stopped at chapter three, which just so happens to be where I'm introducing new characters, which has led to me writing out some new character worksheets.

So, my advice would be to try and find what it is that's causing the stumbling block and do some writing to get around it.

Also, brainstorming as some have already mentioned is a great way to get around stoppages.

Craig McNeil
10-02-2014, 12:51 AM
I've found that if I get stuck on a chapter, it'll sort itself out fiven time. Meanwhile I go write another chapter. Obviously this way of working may not suit you but it seems to work ok for me.

KR Mercik
11-20-2014, 03:54 AM
In situations like this I break out the note cards and see if I can break down what I'm trying to do. Another trick is to write the next scene and come back later. No one said you have to write everything in order!

11-21-2014, 02:50 PM
I'm going to throw out five keywords. Try find a way to use them, or anything related to them in your next scene, to create a problem, a unique setting, a humorous event, an interesting discussion, and introduce a new walk in character. Don't worry too much about your story going off in weird directions, you're just trying to break your mind out of its box. Pair one keyword randomly to one task and stick with it until you come up with something.

Mutton chop
Slide rule

So for example fireworks and a new character. - okay fireworks > someone selling fireworks > a peddler > Fireworks are illegal in some places > so I'll create a peddler that is trying to sell my characters something illegal. So where are they and who is this person, and what is he trying to sell them... blah blah blah and my mind has just clicked into gear.