I always hope the solution to this sort of problem will come in a flash to me while I shop at Waitrose, or bike home, or queue in the Post Office, but actually it seldom does. I think it was Kingsley Amis who said, you need to apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.
There are many ways one can, in Holly Lisle's words, mug the Muse.
- Keep saying, What would happen if... until you strike gold
- Do some research into your characters' interests, or where they live
- Write a short story or a poem as a creative break
- Read a good novel
- Look for loose ends that you can turn into something new
- Re-assess what's at stake for each character
- Write a letter from each character to yourself
I've just done this with one character, Jasper Egan. He turns out to be rather rude.Hi Lexi,
You don’t know much about me, do you? Any more than Caz does. I find that quite amusing – after all, I wouldn’t exist but for you.
Let’s see what you do know about me. My name, of course – though I happen to know, you really wanted to call me J***** D***** after that writer you’ve got some grudge against, but you haven’t quite got the bottle to pinch his whole name, have you? And you’ve got some idea of what I look like. Tall and not bad-looking, I think sums it up. And late thirties, which you refer to as being an older man. From Caz’s point of view, this, hardly from yours. Plus I’m a rich and successful artist, whose art isn’t quite as repellent as you find most modern art...
I'm going to stop him right there. He gets more offensive, and it's a spoiler.