Stuck in the Chair: Breakthrough tip for the week of February 9, 2015

Leah is stuck in her chair. The chair is pulled up to a kitchen table. Something is going on in the living-room. And you can’t seem to write her out of the chair and into the living room. Everything you try is too boring. You imagine that your reader will be curled up asleep by the time Leah gets out of the chair into the living room – and whatever is going on in the living-room will be over. Leah’s stuck. You’re stuck.

Details move the action. When you write the details of a scene, you find threads that move you and your characters forward. Here are four samples of details. In each case, write what comes next.

1. Leah looked down into the empty coffee cup. Once again, she felt the chair wobble on its short leg. There was a thump in the living room. And Leah was the only person in the house…

2. Rich leaned against the backdoor. “Leah, you’ve got to get out of here. Don’t ask any questions. Just go.” Leah traced the paisley in the formica on the table. Something began to whine in the living-room. She knew the room was empty…

3. Leah looked out the kitchen window. She hadn’t put on the light.  The backyard was silvered by the full moon. She turned the glass of scotch in her hands and heard a window shatter in the living-room…

4. She didn’t know how much longer she could wait. Leah leaned back in the kitchen chair. Rich had said he would get away later. It was later. There was a soft footstep in the living-room…

Please work with this and send me 200 words of what you’ve written. I’ll publish it next week.  Thanks, ms


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