One of the simplest solutions to all your writing problems is imagining what you write though the viewfinder of the camera. Think for a second that you’re not a writer but a DP (Director of Photography), and your job is to convey the story in the least amount of shots with the most impact.
When you can’t figure out what to write next, imagine what it would look like if it were a movie—if you saw it on the screen.
This is a great technique that eliminates a lot of needless blah-blah-blah from your prose and forces you to be focused, clear, and concrete.
For example, instead of “They walked into the forest” you’d write “The thick arms of pines brushed the tops of their heads, snatching on their hair.”
Wow. How much creepier and much precise this is? Can you see it through the camera viewfinder in your mind? I bet you can. See how this is much stronger than the general “They walked into the forest”?
Who are they? How were they dressed? What forest? All of these readers’ questions (and confusion) are eliminated in the second passage. “The thick arms of pines brushed the tops of their heads, snatching on their hair.” You imagine people who are unprepared for the trip into the forest. Why? Because their heads are uncovered. You imagine a forest that is deep and dark and dense. Why? Because the arms of the pines hang so low, they brush the tops of the people’s heads. You imagine danger that’s lurking there. Why? Because the pine is animated, it has arms, and it snatches on the people’s hair, as though it were alive.
If you go screenshot by screenshot like this, your prose will breathe and suck the reader in, because just as you can imagine it in your head as a movie, so will they.