I’ve had times when I’ve finished a scene and then sat staring at my screen, not knowing what comes next in the story. The blankness can intimidate, but these are some of the methods I use to get the words flowing again.
1. What if?
Two powerful words. What if the hero gets drunk and undoes all of his efforts so far? What if the bad guy suddenly does something good? Think of something wildly unexpected and drop your characters in it.
A great way to gather lots of ideas is to brainstorm—either on your own, or with a friend or family member. Throw around all different ideas and scenarios and see where it leads.
A fabulous resource. Search for writing prompts, or go onto Pinterest and do the same. There are heaps and heaps of ideas floating around the internet and one simple sentence may give you the idea you’re searching for.
4. Skip over that part
That’s right, I’m telling you to forget it and move onto a part of the story you do know about. When I do this I type something in capitals such as ‘NEED SOMETHING HERE TO LINK TO LATER PART’. Then I highlight it in bright yellow (I write using Word) so I can find it when I get an idea of what I need to write.
Okay, I’m not a fan either, but sometimes a walk in the fresh air can get those creative thoughts flowing again. It doesn’t hurt to take a pen and scrap of paper, or similar, so you don’t forget those ideas before you get home.
Pick up a book and stick your nose in it. Something in the same genre as your own story may be helpful in suggesting a way forward.
7. Forget about it
Get up and walk away. Do something completely different and let the mind wander. The brilliant idea might spring itself on you!
Doing research around the main topic of the novel can show you what needs to come next. Look at the location—is there something about where the story is set that triggers an idea? Is there a festival that happens in the town? Writing crime? Is there a legal or forensic procedure that needs to happen next? Even looking at pictures or reading about character traits can suggest where the story might go.
9. Change of pace
Change the pace of the story. If it’s fast paced, send your characters out for coffee. If the pace of life is slow and relaxed, then add drama and action. Mix it up.
Do you have any other way of getting the ideas flowing?
What's it about?
It's about words and my life as a writer. There are also tips for those starting their writing journey, with a focus on self-publishing, and encouragement all round.