writer's block

by Sybil
(michie tn mcnary)

Question: I am writing a book. I have my idea for the beginning and the end and for some what in the middle but I only have 20,000 words and I am at a loss for what to write next. I don't want to just end it but can seem to come up with nothing else to go with. What do you think I should do?

Answer: Most writers hate middles, because the problem you're having is very common.

I'm a strong advocate of outlines, because having an outline means you always know where you are heading.

You can check out this article for some help with outlines...


In particular, the article focuses on creating the 16 signposts that are the stepping stones for your story. These are the major turning points or stages of a complete story.

If you can work these out, you will have a good sense of what your middle is all about. Generally, the first four events are your beginning, the last four are your end, and the eight in the middle are the part that's giving you trouble.

If that's still not enough detail, bear in mind that any signpost can be turned into a sequence of three or four events - a beginning, complication, crisis, and resolution.

That would give you as many as 64 events - as many as most stories need. In fact, most people would think mapping out 64 events was overplanning. While there's some truth in that, it's better to have somewhat of a plan (even if you change it during the writing process) than have no plan and get stuck.

I also suggest you write each plot event on an index card, including the events for your subplots. Then spend some time putting these in order (adding or subtracting events if necessary) until you have a sequence you can write from.

Best of luck.

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