I talk about outlining all the time, but even I don’t outline for everything.
For the past two years, I’ve written a four- or five-part mystery short story for Short Story Sunday using George and Lilah as the protagonists. I’d get a random title in mind and a plot would spark from there.
That didn’t happen this year.
I’ve been writing this month’s mystery short story as the month went on. I easily wrote the first part and second part, but then I got stuck.
It’s always such a pain when you get stuck on any story, but when you get stuck on a mystery plot, it’s tough to get yourself out of it. Everything has to be pieced together and make sense. When you don’t know what’s going on, it’s hard to tie it all together.
So, what do you do?
1. Reread what you previously wrote
I know there are people out there who say not to reread what you wrote the day before. I don’t understand why, but I think it helps to reread it. It reminds me where I left off and what I already talked about. Especially when writing mystery, you have to remember what clues the characters had already found and such.
2. Ask, “What If?“
If you’re unsure of where to go next ask yourself, “What if this happened…?” New ideas will surely arrive, no matter how far fetched they seem. Still, you can take what you already wrote and rewrite something or use what you already have to create something brand new.
3. Take a step back and outline what you can
Yes, I’m bringing outlining back. No, I’m not telling you to outline your whole story. However, there are certain questions you can ask yourself. If you can answer them, great. Then you can figure out what to do next in your story.
4. Take a break
Step away from the story and let your mind rest. That’s all there is to it. When you get back to it, new ideas might arise for you.
5. Work on something else
I guess this goes along with “take a break,” but you can always work on something else. You’ll be writing, but you’ll be taking a break from your original story.
Getting stuck on your writing is never fun, but there are plenty of was to get out of it and keep going.
What do you do when you get stuck on your writing? Let me know in the comments below!