I refuse to be stumped. Okay, that’s not true. I refuse to accept a prolonged state of stumpedness.
After I rewrote the first chapter, I got about halfway into the second chapter and was not at all satisfied with the interaction of my main characters. I mean, the characters as individuals were interesting, but they weren’t interacting in interesting enough ways with each other. Part of the problem is the scene that was stumping me was centered around a conversation in a bar — not inherently engaging. I pondered this for several days, trying several different tactics. I began to fear that I was going to have to re-arrange major parts of the plot and characters. (And hey, that might still happen.)
But eventually, I took a big sheet of butcher paper and taped it to the inside of a closet door. And I went to brainstorming. I was thinking that I needed to write standing up to solve the problem. I needed to see it on a big white space and feel free to sketch ideas wherever they occurred to me in a sort of spatial thinking space. I was right. I solved several problems with the scene, made a few of the characters much more interesting and seeded future interesting sub-plots. It was incredibly refreshing.