That moment you’ve been dreaded has finally happened. You’ve written scene after scene and there it is right in front of you.
Panic sets in and you reach for a chocolate. And another. Until there is an empty bag of M&Ms on your desk, a drained can of Mt. Dew, a paper brick wall that you have tried to knock some sense into yourself with, and a pile of wadded up tissue.
Take a deep breath. We have all been there a time or two. There is hope for plot paralysis when your story is stuck like a pig in muck. Let’s take a look at one stuck pig and see if we can learn a bit about plot paralysis from him.
How To Overcome Plot Paralysis:
*Take a break. Such a small and simple thing and yet the pig losing the game steps away from the game board. The same is true of our stories. When we get too close to them, we just can’t see a solution to the plot dilemma we are facing. Step away and take a break. Return to the story when the panic has abated.
*Look at the problem from different angles. If you have created a situation in which your character is backed into a corner and no decision she makes is believable, then it is time to look at the problem from different angles.
Ask your other character’s advice. What would the hero tell the heroine to do? What would the heroine’s mother tell her to do? What would she have done at the beginning of the story? How has she changed? What will she do now?
Sometimes looking at the plot situation from other characters’ perspectives frees up our mind enough to get out of gridlock.
*Search for things in the periphery that would work to put the plot back on track. If you have run out of obstacles for your character, search through the characters and events that are on the edge of the hero or heroine’s lives that could cause a new, yet believable obstacle. Susan May Warren often teaches this strategy and I’ve found it to be extremely helpful in my writing.
*Twist the board to create the plot you want. This will create a bit of work to go back and align earlier plot to match the changes you need to make, but if the plot you had rolling wasn’t working it is better to fix it now than later.
It may require the addition of a new character, an additional challenge, or another possible villain. This option is rarely needed, but don’t be afraid of it. It is better to roll up your sleeves and make changes instead of looking at a blank page indefinitely.
What do you do to get out of plot paralysis?
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