There are two ways to lose your momentum when writing a story: not knowing enough and knowing too much. Here’s how to keep going if either happens to you.
- Not knowing enough
Most of writer’s block comes from not knowing what happens next. You have point A down, point B lies somewhere over yonder, and between the two is an infinite wordless chasm.
I find the easiest way to prevent this is to stop and think about what I want in that chasm without my computer actually in front of me. The chasm won’t get filled with sentences; it can only be filled by entire plot points, which need outside planning.
If that doesn’t work, try making a list of all the things you don’t want to fill the chasm. Making the list will help you whittle your options down to what you do want.
When all else fails, try ending the chapter at point A, following a different character, and picking up the next chapter at point B. If A and B are far enough away from each other, you’ll still have to explain what happened, but interspersing backstory is easier than tackling narrative. This is the cheater’s way out, so don’t rely on it too much.
- Knowing too much.
If you have a good idea of what each paragraph needs to be, actually laying them out can get tedious. The idea is always more fun than the execution, and sometimes the former can completely clog up the latter with details.
Keep all of your main plot points. A good, detailed outline can help you write faster. Make a concerted effort, however, to change the minor details. The false ambassador could be spineless instead of sarcastic and his pet could be a dog instead of a parakeet. Figuring out how to alter the small things can be as rewarding as thinking them up in the first place.