Six Things for when You are Stuck in the Murky Middle

Did  you have the most fantastic idea for a book and now you are 30,000 words in and staring longingly at the ending and wondering how the heck you are going to get there? Here are some things that might help.

  1. Go on a walk without a phone or any device except a pen and paper. State to yourself, in as simple terms as possible, the problem of what you are stuck on. Example: Casey and Allison need to get back into the city and get caught. How do they get into the city and how do they get caught? Think about your questions hard for the first five minutes of your walk, and then let it go and enjoy the great outdoors, smell flowers, and stop for some coffee. Drink coffee and scribble out some notes. I almost always get the answer to my questions at some time on these walks.
  2. Tell someone about the place in the story you are stuck. Tell them they have to listen to all your ranting and then, when you are done, they are only allowed to ask questions.
  3. Write down six different things that could solve your problem. Don’t worry if they would all be terrible. Write down a seventh one. Stare at it. Now doodle all over your paper. It’s fine if it’s phallic: that happens. Then crumple up and the paper and throw it in the trash and then take it out again, if you want.
  4. Think of the most complex way to solve the problem of your story. This may include guns. Think of the easiest. This may include people being way kinder than they would ever be in real life. Think of the weirdest way you could solve the problem.
  5. Draw the picture of this part of the story. Map that shit out. It can be a really ugly map. It can be any definition of map you have. It can be the worst map in the world.
  6. Write a love letter to this part of your book about all the things you’d like it to do and if this letter ends up looking like a serial killer wrote it that is totally not a problem for the book but it might be a problem for you but let’s not worry about that right now.

Good luck!

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