Our theme for the week is what to do when your plot gets stuck. And I'm going to (respectfully) annoy about 50% of the writers out there by saying...don't get stuck in the first place! That's right, I am a lifelong plotter. While I know that some people prefer to write 'by the seat of their pants' - and kudos if it truly works for them - my very strong recommendation is to plot.
I've put a very rudimentary chart on the left. This was one of the first plotting charts I attempted. Now they are jazzier, with colors and expanding circles, but this is to show you how simple it can be. I've got major points in the journey for the hero and heroine listed, and then another one that shows the things they have to do together. I make one of these for all the major characters. If setting is major (as it usually is in my books), I make a wheel of places I want to use, so that I can integrate them. This is just the starting point.
I also have an outline for each chapter, and I keep a list of how many chapters are in each character's POV. This simplifies everything tremendously, so that when I sit down to actually write the story, the words can flow. The ONLY times I've ever gotten stuck are when I don't have a chapter outline. You can't write if you don't know where you're going!
But, in an effort to reach everyone, I do have a bit of advice for both plotters and pantsers, gleaned from a wonderful speech by Donald Maass at this year's RWA conference. He said that your job as a writer is to make your character do what is absolutely the best possible choice for them....and then show why that ends up being the worst possible thing they could have done. Dwell on that for a few minutes - it certainly leads to all sorts of interesting possibilities in my mind that I'd never considered.