This is a post for the fellow discovery writers, also known as pantsers.
There will inevitably come a time where you just don’t know how to continue your story and it drives you nuts. Or there will come a time where you are afraid of where it might go or are afraid it is going to be bad.
There will come a time, in short, where fear strikes and you don’t know what to do.
Well, I do know what to do, because I’ve faced this kind of thing with everything I wrote. Even blog posts.
Here’s what you do.
Grab a piece of paper, or open a notes or text app, and write this on top: what do I fear the most of what is inevitable in my book.
There’s always something. You don’t know if you like the direction your main character is heading in and you REALLY want to make changes.
You fear that your secondary characters aren’t interesting enough and you fear that they will make the story worse.
Write down anything, but keep it book related. It’s no use to write down that you think you’re a bad writer. That’s not helping you move this book forward (and it doesn’t help you feel better about yourself. Besides, every writer in history felt that way at one point in their career, even the most successful ones).
Once you are done writing your list, start to address them.
Feel like you don’t know some characters well? Write a couple of scenes where they introduce themselves. They don’t necessarily need to be in the book, but they help the book, at least.
Feel the direction is wrong? Write a scene with a direction that’s right, and then write your novel towards that one.
Feel that the love interest is boring or evil? Write them anew in a scene or two, and then make notes as to where you need to redress their behaviour in the rewrites.
This is -all- about finding where you are stuck, and all about getting you writing again.
And if you don’t find an immediate solution, jump a couple of chapters ahead. If you get the characters stuck in the garden, write them in the living room. What changed? And how does that move the story forward?
After answering all your fears, keep those responses close, because you might face the same problems again, and armed with those responses, you know what to do to move the story forward.