There comes a point in every story where the writer simply doesn’t know how to progress. Normally, this is due to writer’s block, but it can also be a matter of lack of detail. If the story doesn’t have proper transitional elements to get from major point to major point, it will stagnate.
Surprisingly enough, by borrowing from other genres, writers can easily solve this problem. Here’s how:
Villains Come In All Forms
Each genre has a different type of villain. For instance, in romance novels the villain doesn’t have to be a person—it can be obstacles in the face of love, like family rivalries, or affairs. Meanwhile in mysteries, there is always a terrible person doing terrible things, usually hidden in plain sight. If a writer is stuck at a certain point in the story, a good tactic is to consider the villain, or obstacle, that is being created.
Suppose the story were about a teen looking for his long-lost father, but after starting his search, the story looses direction. Try borrowing from romance, with the obstacles in the way. Perhaps traveling across the country as a young teenager isn’t as easy as it seems. Maybe, much like in mysteries, he’s being followed.
Much like villains can help push a story along, so can the heroes. Consider what you know about protagonists: they start one way, transform, and end in another way. Usually, this means they evolve, although the opposite is an option as well. A teen boy looking for his long-lost father could either find himself, and self-assurance, or he could be hardened by his abandonment.
If a story has come to a halt, consider looking at the protagonist. Where is that character arc headed? What can push that along, and hence, add momentum to the story?
Other than the good guy, and the bad guy, what else makes a story? The conflict itself. Nothing is better for a stagnated story than to add embellishments to the conflict. It takes the problems from bad to worse, while adding an element of interest to the story once again.
Going back to the teen boy example, perhaps the father is the only parent the boy has left. Maybe the father is a murderer, who shot his wife. Or maybe, just maybe, the father has been waiting for the boy all along…
A story grinds to a halt several times before its first completion. This is due to writer’s block, pressure, and even poor story ideas. However, this can be made better by tweaking the core parts of the story, like the villain, protagonist, and conflict. Borrowing from other genres is beneficial to any story, especially considering all the different perspectives you could play around with. Mystery can add a touch of tense, sinister elements, while fantasy could add the hope and motivation to complete a mission.