Here’s the second episode of the Writing Talk Podcast.

In this episode I’m talking about outlining and answering the question – how can we unstick a story that’s stuck?

This brilliant question was asked over on the show’s Facebook page at: The Writing Talk Podcast Facebook Page   so I’m indebted to Josie Ingle-Vail for posing the question.

It’s not a simple problem to solve but I hope I’ve suggested some actionable points in the podcast. The question is especially interesting at the moment as stuck stories often relate to a problem with our outlining methods, and many people around the World are currently outlining like crazy in preparation for #NaNoWriMo.

I also suggest a different way of using Scrivener.

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Action Points

Look at your planning process – pick one way you could improve it.

Is an aspect of your planning dragging you down? Ditch it.

Experiment with something new in your planning – never tried index cards? Give them a go.

“Spring Clean” your planning – tidy up and get organised.

Think about separating your planning documents very visibly from your manuscript – it helps to trigger the shift in mindset as you switch between the two modes.

Story stuck?

Review character motivation – this is almost certainly the cause. What do they really need deep down? You don’t spell this out for the reader but you need to know.

Check for plot holes and the pursuit of meaningless goals.

Links to Writing Resources:

What the hell is a MacGuffin?

Chuck Wendig’s post on outlining:


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For Mac

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What would you like me to cover in future episodes?

How do you keep your planning process manageable?

Do you have any tips for NaNoWriMo?

Please answer in the comments below: