I pulled up to a closed bridge this morning while working on the new script and thought I would share how I addressed the situation, because I would have liked to have known this was possible earlier in my career.
The below is nothing revelatory. It’s obvious. When you run into a closed bridge — whether there are signposts to lead you or not — you take a detour.
What happened is that I got the idea of where to send my characters next (as I often do) while running around living life. Except, this time, I neglected to write down the idea.
That rarely happens, but it did happen, this time. Always take the moment to write a note. I find that the act of getting it out onto paper or into an email increases the likelihood that I’ll remember it. But, often, especially as I get older and my head gets more crowded and less sharp — if I don’t write it down there’s a decent chance I will forget.
When something like this does happen, the best thing to do, I’ve found, is to (gently) work through it.
In the past, I would have gotten angry and/or depressed. I still did, today, to a degree. But I know it doesn’t pay to crash your car into the closed bridge. I felt the feelings and I accepted them and thought about where to go next.
Here’s what I specifically did to get to the other side of the bridge (the scene).
Within the document, I just started typing, as I normally would, except instead of forcing anything or not respecting the emotional block at hand — I addressed the situation directly.
Where was I sending them next? I knew but the information has slipped from my mind. I can’t remember. Was ____ not around? Did he have something to do? Or was I sending _____ to ____. I think I was sending her to _____. Next time I will take the note, but for now this is a good enough response. I forgive myself for forgetting, and for not taking the note. It’s okay. I will eventually be led to where I am intended to be led. So shall the story, under my direction.
It worked. I don’t even know if I am right about where I was planning to go. As evidenced by the above, I obviously don’t believe it matters. I just went there. The story moves on, and I with it.
Are they other ways to address a similar situation? Yes. But few are as gentle. And when you’re sitting there alone, with the difficult and lonely job of storytelling — I’d propose that many other forms of barreling through, in a situation like this — it can be waste of energy to fight or rely on brute force.
I hope all that helps.