Writing ourselves into corners
Many (if not all!) authors find that they have written their characters into situations they aren't sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time one of your characters wrote himself into such a situation, and how did you deal with it?
This question is lifted from author Sahar Sabati's informative Ask an Author series, which ran from 2015-2016 and included responses and reflections from English-speaking authors from around the globe. Since I'm often asked these questions by readers, I have republished my answers here with Sahar's kind permission.
My current work in progress appears to have stalled for that very reason. Not because I haven’t got an idea of where I want to take my character. In fact, the outcome of the story is already clear in my mind. The current challenge is how to get my character to this pre-determined conclusion in a way that both challenges him and also makes for an exciting and engaging read. At the moment, my poor hero is running around in circles on a bottle top while I decide what to do next! I have another work, also not-in-progress, where I’ve written my characters into a corner because the dilemma is so big, the problem so catastrophic, that I cannot think of a way mere humans can possibly make a difference. It’s as if I have sent a child to hold back a forest fire armed only with a watering can. Of course, in my case there’s hope: if I wait long enough perhaps scientists will come up with a way to solve the problem for me!