On Getting Stuck

I’m stuck in a place in my script. I have all my players in a place. I have cause for each of them and tension between many. Despite all this, I find myself unable to write the conflict that feels natural and earned. The powers involved in this conflict are magical and, perhaps, divine, though that depends on who you ask.

The issue I’m running into is that, with 5 distinct characters in this scene/conflict, it is difficult to give them all enough page space to feel invaluable to the conflict. The question I keep coming back to, as I write and rewrite the scene in different ways, is this: why does this character (each character) need to be in this specific scene? How is their participation in this conflict essential to how the conflict concludes?

Like so often happens when I find myself in this situation, I turn to a technique that is both painful and, at times, feels futile: I try to write my way through it. This means I write and rewrite the scene every day until something just feels right. How do I know when I’ve got it? I’m not sure, but I know I do. This has happened with short stories before. I dealt with by writing the scene over and over again. At first, I’d write the same scene, changing nothing but the words I used–all the character actions were the same. But slowly, with the passing of the days and the rewriting of the scene, it would slowly start to change. The characters would do something just a little different. Their motivations would become more clear. Their essential natures to the scene would find their way to me.

Doing this same thing with a script, picturing the visual medium, is quite different. I can’t dive within the characters thoughts in the same way prose can. This, I find, is the constraint of the comic form. Prose has its own constraint.

But here I go again. Maybe today is the day I find clarity in this scene. Come one, characters! I created you. Now tell me where we go from her.