Sometimes as you’re writing, you think you have it all planned. You know exactly what you want to happen, you might have even outlined some of the plot. Then, as you’re piddling along and having a good time with your scenes and dialog, it hits you. A special type of writer’s block that is arguably worse than any other — you have no idea what to do next in your story.
This happened to me the other day. I had a crisis. I knew where I wanted my characters to go, where they were going to start, but when I went to write it, I had no idea what was going to happen in the middle. I Googled for ways to get around writer’s block, how to plot, all kinds of stuff. None of it helped, and I was pulling my hair out.
Eventually, I decided to get out a sheet of paper and try something new. This is what I came up with.
So what did I do?
Take a sheet of notebook paper and put your central character in the middle. I decided to write his profession underneath, too. Put a couple of side characters (or other main characters!) around the central character and write how they’re connected. How do they know each other? What kind of relationship exists between each character? What specific things has your character done or said, or what does your character have that can affect the plot? As you do this, you’ll see the ways your cast connects with each other and how their stories interweave.
Essentially, it’s a brainstorming web centered around a single character. Now, the map itself did not give me new plot ideas. The act of creating it did. When I saw something that made me go, “You know, that doesn’t seem very interesting,” I went back and added more stuff to see how I could make relationships different or more complicated. Once I got those new ideas, I then had to figure out how to express those ideas in text, and then they became plot points.
That’s how I got over my own writer’s block, but what about you? How do you figure out where to go with your plot when you’re stuck?