I’m on the third rewrite of my WIP and I’m just about to write the lowest of the low points, where it looks like everything my main character has been working toward is falling apart. But when I sat down to write the scene (which takes place over Thanksgiving dinner), I had the worst writer’s block ever.
I’d written this scene before—twice actually—in two previous drafts. But neither of them had the emotional impact I was looking for. They were either too dramatic or too all-over-the-place (which is what happens when I try to accomplish too much in a scene). This third rewrite of my book is going well, so I wanted this key scene to be right.
But I couldn’t write it.
So I decided to go back to my outline and look at what happens after this scene, not just in the immediate scene after, but in all the scenes until the end of the book. That helped a lot. It helped me hone in on what, exactly, this scene needs to accomplish. And it also helped me realize there are some details I can plant in the early chapters that will make the low point scene resonate even more.
So here’s what I learned this week. Sometimes you have to step back and look at the big picture in order to move forward. Sometimes I get so lost in trying to write the next scene—in trying to get words on the page—that I lose sight of the overarching story. Now that I’ve reviewed (and edited) my outline, I feel much more sure-footed in writing this critical scene.