- Take some time to step back and reread the whole story you have written up to this point. Sometimes that process ignites an idea that will ignite the flow again.
- Get alone with your main character and interview her. Ask her why she is getting stuck. Where is she hoping to go next with her life and what is holding her back? Ask her to share her innermost fears with you as well as her hopes and dreams. Give her time to open up to you. Maybe she is in need of a visit from someone who will encourage, motivate, or inspire her to press on. Maybe she's needing to be jolted by a life altering event that neither of you expected when you began writing her story. My guess is that if YOU are stuck, it's because SHE is.
- Think of a captivating scene that would draw the reader into the text (scary, tense, exciting) and put your character in the middle of that scene. As you begin to describe the scene and her reactions to it, she may begin to tell you the next chapter herself.
- Set a timer. It’s amazing how limiting your writing time can actually help increase productivity. Make it short, like 5-10 minutes. During that time, write from your stream of consciousness as you think about your character, story, or the process of writing itself. Knowing you won’t have to sit there staring at the computer screen or yellow pad for hours can really open the floodgates. Even if you begin with something simple like this example: “I have no idea what to write, but I’m going to keep going until the timer rings. As I think about my character, I wonder what keeps her up at night. Does she have the same worries about ________ that I have right now in our family? Does she ever think of escaping and running away? If yes, where would she go?”
- Step back from the manuscript and clarify/define the theme of your story. Especially in Christian fiction, we have an obligation to consider the message we are communicating. When I taught writing, I always had my students begin with a theme or life lesson readers could take away from their stories. The world can offer stories with ambiguous themes or pure sensationalism, but we are called to a higher bar of using our words to communicate Truth. Your story might be stuck because the theme or life lesson has not yet been defined. Give specific purpose to your character’s journey and the path will become clearer.
- Get some fresh air. Take a walk alone with God. Check in and make sure your relationship with Him is up to date and intimately connected. As you walk, open up and share with Him your roadblock. Then be observant. Look at the amazing intricacy of creation surrounding you. The God, who made it all, dwells within you and desires to speak through you in your story. Sometimes we get so consumed with the writing and the deadlines that we forget to draw our inspiration from the Author of Life.
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