Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What Do You Do When You're Stuck?

Okay, I have to admit, I'm stuck. I'm working on the sequel to my middle grade novel, Ghost for Rent. When I wrote the original book, I had several people say they'd love to see my young sleuths tackle more ghostly mysteries and that they could see a series. This sounded reasonable to me and I began work on the second book, Ghost for Dinner.

We live in an area of high paranormal activity. Several of the older buildings around town, including the high school, what used to a notions shop, a restaurant, and a few houses have had ghostly sightings. It's easy to see where my MC could take on another "mystery." I decided the restaurant was the next place to go ghost hunting, but I wanted to tie it to my first book, which had left one skeleton in the closet, so to speak.

I've woven in back story and moved the plot along until Wendy arrives at the restaurant and the ghostly happenings begin. Unfortunately, I seem to be "stuck." I'm not comfortable with novels, as I'm more used to the short story. I'm finding it difficult to give my MC enough problems to make the story interesting. I'm also having a problem getting the ghost from the restaurant back to Wendy's house where they found the skeleton in the first book. A skeleton not associated with any of the ghosts haunting Wendy in the original story.

All of you who write for middle grades or young adults, what do you do when you're stuck? I have put the manuscript aside a number of times and have written short stories, craft articles, non-fiction articles, and two picture books, but I keep coming back to my middle grade ghost novel. I want Wendy to solve this next mystery. How do I get back on track? Any ideas? Thanks.


  1. I tend to run out of steam a little over halfway through my drafts. One technique I've tried a couple times with success is to introduce a new character, one who will provide a lot of conflict. Also, I do my old standby for coming up with plot ideas -- take a long bus ride with my iPod.

    Good luck!

  2. Lauren, thanks for the advice. A new character could be just what this story needs!