The best writing advice I ever received was from Brad Meltzer, one of my favorite novelists. He writes mostly political thrillers. I met him at a signing, told him I was writing my first novel, and was stuck in Act Two. “I’ve built a lot of momentum,” I said, “and I think I know where this is all eventually going — but how do move forward right now? What do I do?” 

Meltzer replied, “Ask yourself, ‘What happens next?’. 

I blinked, incredulous. He smiled and said, “I know it sounds too simple to work, but it does. Just ask, ‘What happens next?’ 

So I went home and asked myself What happens next? and it totally worked. The simplicity of the question forced me to focus on my immediate goal: getting through the next chapter — and not worrying about what would happen ten chapters from now. 

I still use that technique, and always will.

About J.C. Hutchins

J.C. Hutchins crafts award-winning transmedia narratives, screenplays and novels for companies such as 20th Century Fox, A&E, Cinemax, Discovery, FOX Broadcasting, Infiniti and Macmillan Publishers. His latest creative endeavor is The 33, a monthly episodic ebook series.