A while back, I finished my first draft and decided to make huge changes in the protagonist. I went back to replanning the entire story I have been familiar with for two years.

How I plan the plot before I start writing a new draft is bullet points for each chapter, referencing back to the original draft. It worked well for the first few chapters until somehow everything just came to a halt. It has gotten more and more difficult to continue writing this idea I have been devoted to for so long. I have even tried just skipping the planning part altogether and just immediately drafting, but that hasn't worked either.

It's normal to have writer's block for maybe a week or so, but it has gotten chronic for me. I've had it for months, maybe even years. If anybody has any suggestions to let my creativity flow again, please provide an answer.

2 Answers 2


Writer's block is always tricky to work around, and I think everyone has different methods of what works for them.

For me, the easiest way to get back into the plot, the characters, and the character's motivation is to write small scenes here and there and just see where they go. In fact, just start small—start with the most important scene (or one of them). Go with the flow, see what happens, get to know your characters (especially if they've gone through some pretty intense changes recently) and see if they do anything unexpected. As you write the scene, take notes of what emotions they need to be feeling at that point and what needs to be foreshadowed or built into scenes that come later.

Even if you scrap it later, I feel it's a great way to experiment with your characters at high-emotional points and see what gets them to that point and what needs to come after.

Also, if you need help with getting creativity flowing again, this is what I do. Look at the world around you, and get inspiration from anywhere: art, song lyrics, overheard conversations, other books, history, people-watching, etc. Even if it's small or seemingly insignificant, the action of actively looking for inspiration and recording it will help your brain keep an eye out for future ideas. I keep the notes on my phone and later record them in a journal specifically for inspiration; that way, I can have all my random ideas next to each other on the paper so they can build on one another.

Hope this helps! Good luck with getting back in your story!

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    Improvising without requiring what you write to be anything near "correct" for the novel is a great way to get possibly unrealised ideas out of your subconscious. As well, reading other fiction to add potential ideas as well as just going and having life experience too can help to give you more perspective. Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 1:19

From what you say, you are used to working with plot pattern - the story as it is told.

Try separating this mode of working from story structure - following and mapping individual characters' story lines as they unfold in chronological order.

Where characters' story lines intersect note the quality of the interactions.

This may prove a constructive and instructive way forward.

I find using forward and backward barbs to indicate 'fortunate' and 'unfortunate' elements relative to each character's motivation and purpose in the story useful.

You'll find more about this here and in my book, 'The Unknown Storyteller', which goes into story structures in depth. It is due out in the summer of 2022.

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