You've taken the time to plan the key plot points of your story. You know where it's headed. You understand the conflict, and you even have a good idea of how it will be resolved. There's only one problem.
You are stuck. I've previously offered a list of ideas for what to do when you hit that block. This is different. Right now, your story needs energy, a shot in the arm, an interesting stepping stone to move your plot forward. What you need is a scene to pop in and add fuel to your story.
Here are a three simple exercises to add spice to your plot.
1. On a clean new page, record what you just did. Employ your senses. Write down what you saw, heard, smelled, felt, tasted. Really get into it. Forget your story. Write about you and your world. Next, go back into your story, and see how your world fits into its world. If you just took the dog for a walk, what if your hero happened to step in some dog mess? Where would that lead him? Who might he run into?
2. Take a break from your writing desk. Get your iPod and headphones. Sit down on the couch and randomly select a song on your playlist. Relax and listen. What story images appear in your mind as you listen to this song? What emotions arise? Go back to your writing desk. What if your character gets in the car, turns on the radio and hears this same song? What might the song bring up for her? What might it remind her of?
3. This one's good for describing a character. Again, leave your desk. Go into the kitchen and find something to eat. Don't make a meal, just grab a piece of fruit, handful of nuts, a cookie or a glass of milk. Sit down at the table, close your eyes and enjoy this snack. Go back to your desk, on a new page, record your taste experience. Was it juicy or dry? Was it messy? Was it salty or sweet? Record these details then return to your character. How is your character like a chocolate chip cookie? Does he have a sweetness? Does he crumble at the first moment of stress? Is there a subtle quality to him that's a bit nuts?
I actually use all of these exercises when I'm stuck. These little detours invigorate my story and take it down an unexpected path. For a moment, I lose a bit of control, and the story starts to write itself.
Try it. Choose an exercise and see where it takes you. Create a collection that you can refer to when you get stuck. Your future self will thank you.
Share your own ideas here for adding spice to your story.