7 Things to do When You’re Stuck in a Scene

When you feel like you’ve stalled out on a scene and/or your character isn’t responding the way you’d like, here are seven ways to help you move the scene forward.

Backstory / Setting

Revisit her backstory. Is there something about your character that, if you knew it, you’d understand why she is resisting? In the past, has she encountered a situation like the one you’ve put her in that might inform the current one? Write about the ways each scenario is different and the same.

Change her location. Where is she? Try putting her in a different setting and see how it changes her motivation and behavior.

~ * ~


Make sure he can see where he is. Does your character have enough information about where he is? Give him a more detailed description of his surroundings and scenario. We function better if we know where we are.

~ * ~

Characterization / Character Motivation

Check to see if she’s having an identity crisis. Have you given her enough information about who she is so she knows how to behave? Write about: 1) what she’s trying to accomplish in the scene, 2) why she wants it, 3) what part of her (what trait) can make it happen, and 4) what part of her (what trait) is afraid to do what she has to do to accomplish it.

~ * ~

Antagonists / Protagonists

Think about her support and obstacles. Does he need outside help in this scene, whether that be an antagonist (obstacle or enemy) or a protagonist (support person)? (Keep in mind that either can spur a character on to action.) If there’s no antagonist in the scene, introduce one. If there’s no protagonist in the scene, introduce one.

~ * ~


Give her something (or something different) to say. Is she speaking in the scene? If she is not speaking in the scene, introduce a spoken conversation, whether it means bringing another character into the scene or putting the character on the phone. If she is already speaking in the scene, make the conversation be about something that isn’t related to the scene.

~ * ~

Internal Monologue

Let him think. Has his world and surroundings become so busy, loud, and/or chaotic he can’t do or be what you want? Stop the madness, put him in a chair looking out the window and let him daydream. Write down his thoughts in whatever form they present themselves.

~ * ~

Point of View

Let her have a different perspective. Is the scene occurring from her perspective, another character’s, or from an omniscient narrator’s? Change the Point of View in the scene: If you’re writing in first person, shift to third, or vice versa. Or try second person just to cast a new light on the scene and get her moving again.

Try one or all of these when you’re feeling stuck in a scene and leave a comment below about what you tried and how it worked.

Sending you mad writing mojo…