It hits the best of us—writer’s block. No matter how many times you reread previously written sections or muse over next steps, you simply can’t see how to escape the corner into which you’ve placed yourself. This can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes, the emergence of writer’s block signals a need to further flesh out a story’s plot. Other times, inspiration just vanishes. You could have your entire book planned and plotted and then--poof! Suddenly, you’re not vibing with it anymore. It seems jaded, boring even.
So, what’s a struggling writer to do?
Make a list.
If you’ve reached a crossroads of sort in your young adult fiction novel, make a list of actions your characters could take or things that could happen to them. Start with the mild (perhaps boring?) ideas you have considered. Write those down. Then, keep going. With each new bullet point, create a more fantastical series of events.
Assume your young female protagonist (Lisa) is stuck in a love triangle and her prospective partners (Jon and Sam) have decided to confront her, asking that she choose her heart’s desire. What’s a writer to do? Make a list! Below is an example.
Notice that as the list continues, the ideas become more fantastic, wild. But they maintain some realism. While your book might not lend itself to accommodating ROUS, something of similar madness could occur.
Now that you’ve got your list (it can be as long as you want), go through your ideas and really ponder on them. You perhaps don’t like the idea of Lisa et al being attacked by megamoles, but perhaps a different type of attack occurs. Maybe a riot breaks out between political groups congregating nearby. A terrorist attack destroys the local post office. An ambulance swerves to avoid pedestrians and crashes into a series of nearby cars.
Take elements of your ideas and mix and match! If, after spending time trying to flesh ideas out, you find yourself still stuck, then your list isn’t long enough! Keep going! Make your ideas crazy, outlandish. Perhaps as Lisa deliberates, Jon steps backward and slips into a wormhole! Maybe Sam determines that her love for Lisa isn’t as romantic as she thought; perhaps it’s more platonic or maternal!
Don’t be afraid to explore seemingly irrational ideas.
Owner/Editor of Emerging Ink Solutions, avid YA/NA author, adamant supporter of the Oxford Comma, anime and music enthusiast.