To die or not to die: that is the question:

So, you are now writing chapter 10 and inspiration departs. This has happened to me twice in the last 7 years of writing. Once when writing my very first book, and just recently when writing my seventh. In the first instance, I was stumped for several hours considering the story and the characters before frantically Googling “what to do when your story grinds to a halt”. You might have your entire script 'prepared' in your mind, you might have copious notes on each chapter. You might know precisely where each chapter is leading, and this type of mental blockage is still possible. Like a speed bump on the keyboard of thought, indecision lurks. One of the most common suggestions is to 'kill someone off'. Whilst this is quite fun and can be very entertaining, it's not a great idea to kill off your well-loved primary protagonist around whom you have built your entire story unless you have a very good reason. If you decide one of your characters must die, this will probably get your mind going again, but there is a myriad of other ways to get your inspiration back on track. Re-read your last couple of chapters. Consider whether your individual characters are strong enough, and if necessary strengthen them. If your character is strong, there is always room for a strong event – for example, if your character is a compulsive liar, consider what terrible havoc can be wrought unintentionally by a simple, seemingly harmless lie, or more interestingly, the havoc caused by a truth rather than a lie, and the regret of telling the truth. If your character is heroic, consider having them deal badly with the consequences of an epic failure. Have your character deal with someone who is their opposite personality-wise. If the stall in action is caused by not knowing where your story is going, take a break. I mean a real break. Go camping somewhere relaxing. Lie on the beach and just allow the story to run around in your mind without trying to decipher your next chapter. There is a good chance it will spring into your mind when you are least expecting it, at which time you should get out of bed and jot it down so it is still there in the morning.


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