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12 key steps for getting unstuck as a writer

Trapped in the middle of your manuscript? Here’s how to move forward.

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Consider the weather.

Weather has a huge effect on our lives. Heat waves make us testy. There’s a reason the murder rate goes up in the summer. Good weather makes us joyful, unless it makes us anxious that we’re not feeling joyful. Hurricanes unleash dangerous forces into the ordinary routine of our lives. What would your character do if she found out a hurricane was headed in her path? Would she evacuate or stay? Would she save her pets or leave them? Is she prepared or not? These huge forces of nature force our characters to reach inside themselves and find out what they’re made of. Last summer, as Hurricane Irma headed toward Florida, a man I know from New York decided to get on a plane and go to Miami. He had some business properties there, but mainly he just wanted to see what the storm was like. I was dumbfounded. Up until that moment he’d seemed like a perfectly ordinary and pleasant person to me, but it turned out he had this intense risk-taking side, which I never would have known about except for this storm. What unexpected side might your characters reveal in the face of bad weather? An added bonus to the weather is that it can come out of nowhere. If your character is stuck with nothing to do, give him a major snowstorm.

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