I spent three days on a chapter that didn’t work out.
I had three characters in a dining room wrapping blue pottery bowls in newspaper to take to a craft fair at Centennial Park in Nashville.
I didn’t want to be in the dining room with pottery bowls stacked every which way, and the characters didn’t want to be in the dining room with the pottery bowls stacked liked leaning towers of Pisa. I felt claustrophobic. They felt claustrophobic. But for three days, I couldn’t see a way out of the dining room.
I finally printed out the chapter. Once I read it on paper, I knew the setting was not working out.
So I changed it.
Instead of the three characters wrapping the bowls, I jumped ahead, and I had them unwrap the bowls at the Craft Fair. They had a purpose in setting up the craft fair booth. They could breathe better in the fresh air. I could breathe better. We all felt better!
I was also able to transfer the dialogue from the dining room chapter, so all was not lost.
It reminded me of some self-help talk I read once. You have to go through it not around it. I’m not going to beat myself up about spending three days on material that didn’t work out. I learned something and I found a solution.
Terrible Minds is always a trip with his advice on how to unstick a story and this article gives good advice on fixing plot problems as well.