What do you do when you're writing a particularly difficult scene/chapter?

#1
To clarify, I'm wondering what you guys do when you're stuck on a scene or chapter. I'm sure we've all felt that feeling where we simply can't make things read like we want them to read, and that's very frustrating. Currently I'm experiencing something like this. I know where I want to bring my story, I'm just having troubles with some scene's along the way. Very interested to hear your approaches to situations like this. 

Re: What do you do when you're writing a particularly difficult scene/chapter?

#3
Personally, before I start writing a new chapter, I write a brief bullet point list outlining every event that I want to happen in the scene. They're usually just a single short sentence for each point. For example:
  • Main character meets ...
  • Main character travels to ...
I start writing and as I address each of the points I add a strikethrough until everything has been included. I usually end up adding extra bits that I thought up on the spot, and that's okay, as long as I don't deviate too much from my original outline. 

If you're having trouble with the writing itself (i.e., wording the sentences), I usually find it helpful to step away from my screen and make a tea or coffee or something, and while I do, I run over different ways that I could write the sentence in my head, eventually, I'll come up with something that sounds right. Sometimes it can take a while and patience is key. In situations like that, I tend to step away from writing for a short while altogether and go back with a fresh mind and a new perspective.

I hope that helps, and good luck writing your scene!

Re: What do you do when you're writing a particularly difficult scene/chapter?

#6
As EnhancedBeing said, I'd first go for a walk. The other thing I'd do is send a draft to myself of the scene leading up to it, and just reread this section during my walk. Then, I'd just let my mind continue the story without worrying about the exact word choices, grammar, etc. I'm more concerned with locking in the feelings, ideas, concepts, dialogue, and such that I want to capture. Once I'm home, it's usually much easier to write again. If that doesn't work, I have a few other techniques to manipulate my mind into productivity, but those would only happen after a walk failed.

Re: What do you do when you're writing a particularly difficult scene/chapter?

#10
The answer to my issue seems pretty simple: Go outside and take a walk. As it's currently snowing in the middle of april, I'm not sure that's going to work out to well, but no worries. Simply taking a break, and reading through your replies helped me come back with some fresh eyes, and I'm currently well on my way to making things work. Thank you for your tips!
DrakanMelt

Re: What do you do when you're writing a particularly difficult scene/chapter?

#12
Everything I write starts out as gibberish. I affectionately call it Monkey Bangings.

I type words as fast as I can, forgoing things like sentence structure and punctuation. The stuff is full of spelling errors and missed keystrokes, and inappropriate POVs and stuff that literally makes no sense.

When I get to a scene or a conversation where I know exactly what I want to say, I type it out much more carefully. And when I get to a 'spark' or to the end of an arc, or perhaps to a point where I better stop writing gibberish and start writing actual readable content, I go back and edit edit edit.

And then I edit some more. In fact, I edit about four times more often than I actually write. But that's okay with me, because I find editing to be easier than writing. I also find that it is impossible for me to write anything that is readable right off the bat.

It's just the way I am. Did I mention that I edit a lot? 🐰

Re: What do you do when you're writing a particularly difficult scene/chapter?

#13
I hate it when this happens, but it can bring creativity to a halt. I do many of the same things listed above. Take a break, write on a different story, or do some unrelated creative craft. When I come back to the problem chapter I brainstorm for a new approach, research technical subjects, or draw chapter diagrams with possible story mechanisms. If I am lacking inspiration I have found tarot spreads help open the door to new ideas. If all else fails, just give it a long rest, start another book and come back in a year or two.

Re: What do you do when you're writing a particularly difficult scene/chapter?

#15
I just keep writing, fully aware that what I'm writing is total crap. Once it's on the page it's easier to see "yeah, this needs to be changed" than some nebulous concept of not knowing how to write it well.
If I get to the end of the scene and still don't know how to make it good, I just move on to the next scene. Then the following day (or whenever) I'll re-read the scene, think "wow. This is amazingly bad", and usually at that point I know how to fix it. But having it written is the most important thing for me.