Earlier this week, I wrote a great scene in my WIP. One of my main characters witnessed someone who lived in her apartment building pass through a solid wall after revealing herself to be not human. I was thrilled with the way it came together. Then I went to write the next chapter … and couldn’t. The story came to a screeching halt as I realized there was only one way for my MC to react.
You might be thinking, “Terror is good.” But in this case, it’s not. My terrified character has every reason to flee from this situation and no reason whatsoever to do the things I need her to do in this story. She has no investment to make her investigate this “monster” further. I wouldn’t blame her for curling up in a ball and quietly having a breakdown.
Unable to go forward, I had to back up. Removing the event entirely didn’t seem like a good option. The story would just stall out without this scene.
The solution ended up being simple — although it took me 3 frustrating days to figure it out. If the strange person passes through a solid wall without revealing herself to be non-human, the situation changes drastically. What would you think if you saw someone pass through a seemingly solid wall? You’d think it was a trick, right? That there was some kind of hidden passage there.
A hidden passage gives my MC all the motivation I need to keep her digging into this mystery. Who wouldn’t love to find a secret passageway in their building? The “monstrous” nature of the non-human character can be revealed later, when my MC is too far into the adventure to pull out and curling up in a ball to have a breakdown is not an option.
Two paragraphs deleted in my previous chapter, and my story is back on track.
When’s the last time you had to back up? Did it end up being a simple change? And how long did it take you to figure it out?