If you are struggling with your novel, taking time to outline or do a writing prompt can provide the inspiration you seek. I’m a huge fan of writing prompts. They can be an excellent way to clear the head. They’re a great way to warm-up those writing muscles. To get you into the writing mindset.
Sometimes they are the perfect way to blow of some steam and write something nonsensical. Something you know you will never use, but you had fun writing. And those writing prompts are great. We need a bit of no-pressure writing. However, writing prompts can also be a great way to work out new possibilities for your novel. My favorite writing prompts are designed to help you improve your writing.
Especially if they help you strengthen and improve your current WIP.
If you are struggling to develop one of your characters, you might want to write the scene from a different character’s perspective.
If you are struggling with emotion, you might practice writing different emotions.
No matter the issue, there can be ways to work through difficult scenes.
How to Work Through a Difficult Scene
Work Through a Difficult Scene by Trying Different Outcomes
Not sure if your character is supposed to go to Vegas with her boyfriend or stay at home studying for the ACT the next day. Write both scenarios out. Not sure if your character should hop on an airplane, steal his dad’s car, or take the Greyhound bus? Write each possibility.
Not sure if your character should grow up in a foreign country, a small town, or a bustling metropolitan area? Write a simple scene describing the setting for each.
You get the idea. Write a scene for any possible outcome you are toying with. Then ask yourself which one serves your novel best. Which one best represents your character? Where would they live? How would they respond in a certain situation? Does it help the character achieve their goal, or keep it out of their reach?
Which scene is most interesting to the reader? Does one feel more interesting and engaging? Does it feel unexpected and intriguing? Will it make the reader think?
It’s also important to consider which scene will best help you achieve your objective. If you want to explore life abroad, your character should live in a foreign country. If you know what it is like to live in the country but not a big city, it’s probably okay to stick with what you know. But, if it’s important to the story you are trying to tell, don’t be afraid of research.
Work Through a Difficult Scene by Trying Different Mediums
If you are struggling with a difficult scene, writing it in a different medium will help you see it in a new light. A different approach may help you fix whatever isn’t working in the scene. Trying something new, stepping out of your writing comfort zone is a great way to improve. Any style of writing will teach you something that you can apply to your preferred genre or style. It will help you gain insight, see things you wouldn’t have seen before, and write a more creative story.
So try writing the scene on paper. This will help you write slower which may help you think better and figure out how to fix a scene that isn’t working. Another idea is to turn the difficult scene into a screenplay. This could be helpful if you are struggling with dialogue. You could even turn the scene into a poem if you are struggling with sound or word choice. Try turning it into a list if you need help focusing on the most essential aspects of the scene. This might help you decide what details and events can be cut.
Work Through a Difficult Scene by Trying an Info Dump
Struggling with character development? Start writing everything you know about the character. What they look like, how they act, why they are important to the story. Don’t worry if things don’t make sense. Don’t stop to think, just write. You can even write as if you are the character. What are they trying to tell you?
If you are struggling with setting, just start writing down every phrase that describes the place. You might have a list of 20 things you won’t use, but you’re bound to get a few good ones. Do a dump where you describe the setting through different character’s perspectives. Find a picture of the troublesome location and start writing a description.
I think plot issues are the hardest to work though, but they aren’t impossible. If you’re wrangling a plot bunny, you could do an info dump on what you know must happen, what has already happened, or what could happen. It could be a list of possibilities, or a wordy ramble that leads you to discover what must happen next based on what has already happened.
I love word dumps because they help me visualize all my crazy thoughts and sift through the chaos to find the nuggets of genius. They’re always in there. And you can find yours too!
And if all else fails, go eat some chocolate, curl up in bed, and try again tomorrow! 😉
What do you do when working through a difficult scene?