I often find myself coming to the end of a sentence or a paragraph and saying that this is where something needs to happen. Something big. Something exciting. Sometimes something that even I never expected.
I've always found this to be a good trick to get out of a rut. By giving myself a moment to open up the story to any possibility, I usually find a way to propel things forward in a manner much more interesting than any outline ever could.
This morning when I opened my manuscript, I was at one of these moments. I decided to let the characters do what I would've wanted to do most in their position. It worked out much better than the course I had planned for them. A writer must always have faith in their characters to sometimes know better than he or she does.