When my daughter Gabbey was little, she was prone to getting herself into awkward situations and then yelling STUCK! at the top of her lungs. An adult would come to her rescue, and the problem would be solved. For writers, it’s not that easy.

I’ve reached the climax of my WIP – even sent out notice to my characters requiring their attendance – and I’m still not exactly sure how it’s going to all work out. That is, I know what I want to happen. I’m just not sure how I’m going to make it happen. Those little details of location and timing and does that even make sense are still a mystery to me.

What do you do when you can’t make the details line up correctly? Here are some of the things that work best for me:

  1. Talk it out with somebody. I think this is the the most successful strategy for me when I’m stuck. Several times during this WIP, I have hit upon a solution while typing out the problem for my crit partners KrysteyBelle and Marcy or explaining it all to my husband. Sometimes, I don’t even need to involve the other person! By the time I’d finished typing up the problem for Krystey and Marcy, I knew how to solve it, so I deleted the message and just emailed them to say Never mind and thanks!
  2. Do something really boring – like cleaning or weeding. I can’t stand either activity, and my brain will usually start imagining scenes and dialogues just out of self-defense.
  3. Stream-of-consciousness writing. I open up a fresh Word document and start typing what comes to mind. I let my characters talk and think on the page. I list the things I want to happen and the things I need to happen and the things that ought not happen and see how they all mesh together.
  4. Be open to change. Often I have found that one pre-conceived notion might be the only thing holding me back. (For example, I was certain Mick’s brother would be defiant, but what if he was regretful instead …)

By the way — Was it wrong of me to take that picture of Gabbey before rescuing her? The camera was already in my hand, I swear! And this wasn’t the first time she’d done it.