I’ve been doing what I often do two-thirds of the way through a novel, I’ve been re-structuring it. My most influential writing teacher, Ellington White, used to say often that if a piece of fiction isn’t working, or becomes bogged down, the problem (or solution, depending how you want to look at it) often lies in the structure.
The phrase “think architecturally” I’m borrowing from Naomi Epel’s nifty little deck of cards recommended to me by Steve Krause, called The Observation Deck: A Tool Kit For Writers. Each card addresses some writerly advice gleaned from a wide range of writers Epel interviewed. It sounds cheesy, I know, but the idea is to draw a card when stuck or looking for a little inspiration, read the discussion in the accompanying booklet, and take it from there. It rarely tells me anything I don’t know already, but that’s usually the point: You’re forgetting something you already know!
So in my case, when I drew this card and remembered Ellington’s advice, a cursory examination of the three threads of the story quickly revealed they were seriously out of proportion with each other, and while one was ladled in great globs, the others were eked out in dribs and drabs. The sequence of events in each needed to be seriously reworked. This led to other discoveries and an end to the logjam. Feeling stuck? Ellington, Naomi, and I recommend having a look at structure.