Writer’s Block: Take Another Step, Add a New Character

The process of writing has been slow. I committed to my writing partner that I would produce 1500 new words last week. With two and a half days left in the accountability week, I was sweating proverbial bullets.

My small start moved me forward. And for that I am grateful. I am glad that I have the desire to create new words for my novel.

Changing venue helped but I needed to take another step. Increase my stride. Move at a faster pace.

Cover of "Immediate Fiction: A Complete W...

Cover via Amazon

One of my writing rescues is Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver. He states this:

“There are more conflict and more scenes, but what account for them? One thing and one thing only:  MORE CHARACTERS. More characters, who are more trouble, more scenes, more pages. Believe it or not that’s all there is to it. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. It takes work, but it’s that simple … Additional characters cause more trouble, forcing the other characters to act and reveal more of themselves. The novel is longer because the problem is bigger, the conflict more complicated and longer running. That larger, longer conflict is created by the presence of more characters. In terms of story elements, more characters are the difference between the short story and the novel.”

I wasn’t adding characters for length. My story line has so many possibilities that length isn’t an issue, unless you’re describing what I need to leave out because it’s getting too long.

New characters are energizing. Adding one new (unplanned, surprise) character reinvigorated me and reconnected me to the story I was worried had gone stale.

Introducing a new character created unexpected conflicts; unnamed environments; and undefined characteristics. The “un’s” need words to make them something.

I was able to explore the conflicts to see how they moved the plot along. I experimented with the environments to test out images. I was able to bring evolution to a character idea until the person was real for me.

This new character and her interactions with my existing characters have made writing this story fun again. It has created momentum … Surprisingly, this new character didn’t just help me write the 1500 words I’d listed as my goal but I was able to write double that number because of the conflict she represents.

I finally have my villain, my antagonist. Now my story is moving!

You don’t have to be stuck. If changing venue didn’t help … take another step and add a new character … I’d love to hear how this works out for you.


  1. thank you for the chronicles of your journey. i look forward to the new twists and turns to come from your character development. sounds soooo good! mostly, though, thanks for showing how deadlines matter and how being accountable pushed you forward. this is great fuel.

    • Sure thing TLC. You’ll be surprised to know that I have a short term map of where the plot is going. I haven’t done a lot of planning up till now but it just may work this time. Tell you over coffee soon.

  2. Amazing idea. I want your advice on whether I should read writing guides and stuff for writing my story or should I just let the creativity flow?

  3. This is exactly what I did this past weekend and it really helped! Brought something new to the mix and helped me avoid the rut that I was teetering on.

    And I love the idea of having a writing partner, it must definitely help when you have to someone that you are accountable to. right now it’s just me and I have “goals” but no one is there to keep an eye on me to make sure I don’t slack off. I will be on the hunt now for one!!!

    • I am a little jealous of your 4 hour writing block. I’m glad that it was productive for you. A writing partner has been fabulous for me. I know I have to account for the goals I set and she always asks. Plus I can talk about plot and get ideas. We’re writing in different genres so lend different perspectives. Happy hunting!

  4. Whitney Rains says:

    I added two new characters to my WIP. They both gave the story a new flow and some light. I definitely agree with this. New characters are good for a stalled out story.

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