Help me. Please, help me.
I've entered the dreaded "muddle in the middle."
Writers know what I'm talking about. It's that place in your novel where stuff needs to happen to move the story along, but you don't know what, not exactly (maybe not even vaguely, if you haven't outlined well enough). You've stormed through the "beginning" of the book, hooking readers and introducing characters and creating challenges for them to overcome. You've described the setting, you've wedged in a sub-plot (or two, if you're ambitious), and you've managed to bring the readers along for the ride. Everything is going along perfectly, until...shplatt. You find yourself in the muddle.
No, seriously, now what?
I'm 30,000 words into my current WIP, and I need some stuff to happen. Good stuff. Stuff that will propel this story into the final act. Stuff that will keep my readers turning pages and missing subway stops. Stuff that is intriguing, captivating, emotion-tugging, mysterious, amazing, humorous, unexpected, quirky, brilliant, compelling, and plot-advancing.*
Or should I just bump someone off and get rolling again?
*Stuff that doesn't involve space aliens. Although...