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I've been working on a novel for about three years now, if you count the stretches of time where I thought it was finished.  No, it wasn't--it was too short for most of the publishers I have in mind, the antagonists were too evil and simplistic to be believable, and, well, I'm in a bit of a hurry, so I'll jump to the real question.
I'm adding scenes in about the middle right now, working with the antagonists.  A lot of this has been fun, but now I'm kind of stuck.  In this scene, two of the characters enter an air race (don't ask.  In this imagined culture, they seem preoccupied with the past and to a lesser extent with the future--any time but the present.)  Another racer cheats, but one of the main characters still wins, which makes the other character (who crashes) quite suspicious, naturally.  I'll leave out most of the details, but I can't bring myself to write this scene.  I've been working on other parts of the story and enjoying it, but I don't know what's going on with this.
I was going to ask another question, but my bus leaves in 15 minutes and I haven't made my lunch or done my hair!

Hi Carissa:

The reasons you might be blocked regarding this scene are so many, and so varied - it might be anything. Writer's block is as big a puzzle to me as to any other writer! However, I may still be able to help you.

What you have described doesn't constitute a scene. A scene typically involves two or more people, dialogue and action that moves the story forward toward some resolution.

So what you have here are two people in potential conflict. You may be conflicted yourself, about the scene. The questions you need to ask yourself are:

1.  What is this scene supposed to accomplish? How will it move the story forward (which it must)?

2. What is (B) suspicious about? And who's the target - the racer who cheated, or (A), who won?

3. If you know your characters well, you should know how (B) will act on his suspicions. If you don't, maybe you need to do more character development. Has (B) suffered any other losses in his life? How did he react then? Would he react the same here?

Once you have figured this out, you may still have questions. If so, come back with them, and we'll go from there.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 1,000 questions.

And good luck with your writing!  

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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