Getting Unstuck in Your Story

Bookmarked Stuck: the three narrative mistakes that plunge me into writer’s block by C.L. Polk (

just about every time I get stuck while writing a novel, there’s a pattern.

1. Let the Character Act
2. Take some Information Away
3. Let the Character be Irrational

there’s something really relatable about a character who is trying to do the right thing, but doesn’t have enough information to get it right. or the character who gets frustrated and acts on that frustration.

So my fix is to go back and examine the situation through my character’s…negative, fearful, people-pleasing, overly curious, impulsive, petty qualities.

I ask: How can my character screw this up without meaning to?

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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