Changing the Writer's Point of View
A few years ago, I attended an excellent workshop, given by agent Donald Maass, called Writing the Breakout Novel, based on his outstanding book of the same title. One of the exercises I found particularly intriguing involved having everyone list the one thing their main character would never do.
Then, a little while later, Mr. Maass suggested, "Now, have your character do exactly that thing."
The results were interesting, forcing the writer to plumb un-guessed depths, nuances, and/or contradictions in a character each believed already well known. Whether or not the scene made it to the completed book, it gave each writer excellent food for thought.
I'll take it one step further and suggest a bit of a twist. Why not list several things you would never do as a writer. Then force yourself to try them, one by one. Whether or not you end up with anything useful, you're very likely, by breaking out of a rut, to shake loose at least a few worthwhile new thoughts.
Pictured: This week, I've broken out of the sedentary writer rut and embarked on a three-hour trail ride to the top of a West Texas mountain. Seeing the gorgeous gold of the cottonwoods, blue of the sky, and sweep of landscape from this fresh vantage point gave me an entirely new perspective on a part of the country I've often mined for settings. Though I haven't ridden in years and know I'll be sore as anything tomorrow, I hope to come back to my writing wonderfully refreshed.