Writing Yourself into a Dead End

by Jerri Gibson McCloud - December 2003

So you’ve arrived at a dead end.  Now what?  You’ve lost interest in your story.  You’ve told all you knew of this magical story and now the well has run dry.  Where do you go from here?

 Dig deeper into your character knowledge.  Simple, huh?  Try the following:

 Draw a circle.  Label it as your protagonist. 

Draw many lines leading from that circle.  At the end of each line, draw more circles.  Write something in each of these circles that your character wants.  Continue until all of your lines end with completed and filled circles. Think outside the box—from the most realistic to the most ridiculous.

Now, from those circles, draw additional lines.  Create conflicts resulting from your character’s wants and desires.  How can he be stopped?  What stumbling blocks can you place in front of him?  Who can enter the picture and either help him overcome these stumbling blocks or continue blocking his desires.

Every action triggers a reaction.  Two steps forward, one step back. Continue  until your character reaches his goal.

How about a subplot?  If you choose to use a subplot, create the same circle example to create a subplot.

Once you have completed this exercise, you have a wealth of ideas to choose from.  Now your story can move again.

Jerri Gibson McCloud ©2005-2012