I’ve recently been writing my book when I got stuck. I think it’s safe to say that this has happened to everyone. This has happened a few times in the certain book I am writing, and I’ve noticed it is always after a fight scene with my main characters and the antagonists in my story. After an action-packed scene, I am simply at loss for what to do. Normally in this time, I write dialogue or my characters feelings or what they are going to next now that they’ve survived the attack. And then I do another fight scene.

Having this be the first book in my series, the fight scenes I’ve done so far were mainly to show instead of tell my characters what dangerous creatures live in the forest, but now I have introduced all the kinds of antagonists and don’t know what to do because I don’t want to have them fight the same creatures twice in one book.

So basically, I just need to figure out the best methods to be creative and help me figure out what to do next.


3 Answers 3


I hit this problem many times when I began writing. The problem was that I was losing interest because I didn't know how to write the next scene.

As well as just writing the scenes in between, however badly, I recommend reading many books with action scenes. See what the writers did after them. Decide which of those effects you like and imitate them. (Warning: the first attempts may be too derivative of the source material -- but this is practice.)


It sounds to me less like you have writer's block and more like you don't know where your story is going.

A good story has a point it is trying to make, and goals its characters are trying to attain.

Conflicts (and action scenes) are usually things that hinder your characters in reaching their goals.

The action scenes are the sugar coating on whatever point it is you are trying to make. You (as the author) have something to say. Your character's goals are points in your arguments. The action scenes are to keep your readers from getting bored.

If all you have is a series of action scenes and no idea why they should happen, then you aren't telling a story. You are compiling a pointless series of anecdotes.

  • Figure out what you are trying to say in your story.
  • Set goals for your characters that relate to the message you are trying to convey.
  • Use conflict and action to keep the reader interested.
  • The conflicts should relate to your message and/or the goals of the characters. Action for action's sake is fluff nad makes your story worse, not better.

The "point" of a story can be just about anything.

Surely you, as a person, have some point of view on some subject that you would like to express.

Find some theme that interests you, or that you think other people need to be thinking about. Use that theme as a background for your story. Your protagonists are the characters working to a positive resolution for the theme. Your antagonists are those actively opposing your protagonists' efforts.

To get back to your (rather vaguely described story,) you need to ask yourself why your characters are in that forest. Why are they there? Why did you put them there, and what are you trying to tell me by the actions of your characters in that forest?

If you know the answers to those questions, then I'd think you'd know what to do after the action scenes. Action scenes are conflicts. They resolve some point, and your characters resume trying to reach their goals, usually with a change in plans or attitude that results from the conflict.

Since you don't know what your characters should do after a fight, I'd say that you don't know what story you are trying to tell. You (as the author) must know where your story is going even if your characters don't.

One of my favorite stories comes from the original Star Trek series. It is full of action and tension - and has much to say.

The Devil in the Dark is composed mostly of action - chasing a monster (devil) through the dark caverns of a mine.

In the end, the "devil" turns out to be the humans who have been destroying the eggs of the Horta - which has been trying to protect itself and its eggs from the encroaching humans. The "Devil in the Dark" are the humans.

The "Devil in the Dark" is also the fear exhibited on both sides. The Horta fears the humans, and the humans fear the Horta. The fear on both sides leads to killing and deaths.

Once both sides face their fears, the story resolves peacefully with the miners and the Horta (and children) working together.

It has a couple of points to make, and does so. It is also entertaining and almost entirely action.

It has a theme, the characters have goals, and it has conflicts. The author of the script managed to get all of the elements together and make his point.

By the way:

Those views above on the content of stories are those of a reader (me.) I'm not an author. I'm just a guy that has read northward of a thousand novels and even more short stories.

What I wrote above is what I expect from a story.

If the characters don't know where the story is going, that's fine. They are like regular people who can't see the future - they deal with things as they come.

If the author doesn't know where the story is going, I'll drop the book in a red hot second and go look for a better story.

  • Thank you but I do know where my story is going. I didn’t know what to do for an action scene not because they’re the main events in my story, but I needed a filler in between two pretty boring scenes. That’s when I got stuck. I should have been a little more specific in my question, but I will use your advice when I run into the problem you answered.
    – Leila
    Oct 21, 2020 at 15:27
  • 2
    "Filler in between two pretty boring scenes" is a bad thing. Action should play a part in your story, not merely link two badly written sections with an unnecessary section. If both scenes are boring, fix them. Make them interesting to read rather than trying to distract from them with fluff.
    – JRE
    Oct 21, 2020 at 18:25
  • 2
    Why do you need to introduce me to every monster? Show me that there are monsters in the forest in one encounter, then let the characters discuss the other monsters. I don't want to read twenty encounters with various monsters so that you can "show rather than tell." You can over do "show" just as you can over do "tell." If you've got ten chapters of "monster du jour" and nothing else of interest, then I'll leave your book on the shelf in the bookstore and go look for a book by some one with something to say.
    – JRE
    Oct 21, 2020 at 19:26
  • 2
    Then let them discover that there are monsters. Make that exciting, even let them encounter more than one monster in that encounter. Gloss over the rest of it. If all you are doing is a monster a day while your characters learn about them all, then your readers' eye will glaze over. Skip over a few days or weeks while the characters learn about the different kinds of monsters. Pick up after they've gotten good at handling the monsters, and get on with the story. 200 pages of "Day X tangle with {new monster number Y} {develop new technique number Z} {dispatch Q monsters}" gets old fast.
    – JRE
    Oct 21, 2020 at 20:06
  • 1
    Let me know that your characters are fighting and learning about them. Let them do it in the background. Show me other, more interesting things about what they are doing and why. After a few weeks, your characters know their way around and can say things like "we'll have to wait until just after sun set to cross the ridge. The {evil monsters variant 73} will be active until then. After that we can get to the cave by the river and wait for sun rise when {evil monster variant 17} goes dormant for the day."
    – JRE
    Oct 21, 2020 at 20:30

One way out of this situation is to have multiple story ideas noted somewhere. When you get writer's block working on one tale, you can shelve it for a while and work on another one.

One issue with new writers (and possibly old ones as well) is that your book can look more complete to you than it really is. You will know your characters and the setting well enough that you don't need to be told things about them, and so your brain, sneaky thing that it is, will fill in details that you left out of the narrative or dialogue. (And if you're cursed with a very good memory, your recall of what you intended to write will override what your eyes see on the computer screen and you'll overlook misspelled words.)

It could be that you can't think of anything to write because you're not seeing what's missing from what you've already written. Taking a break from your story will give you a chance to forget these details, and later when you read what you're written, the parts that are left out will be more obvious. This is in fact one of the reasons that even the very best writers have editors; they know nothing about your story except what you put into words.

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