and the direction of the story vanished from my brain for quite a while as well. Recall that just recently I was discussing turning it into a screenplay as a way of trying to avoid some of the stuff I was having difficulty with. But trying to write in a form I have no experience with isn't the answer.
Turns out the answer was simply sitting down and figuring out the damn timeline. This is a story that is very dependent on a precise timeline in which events unfold in a particular order. So I figured out the timeline. I made myself a little worksheet and plotted it all out. I even printed some blank calendars and handwrote the key events on the blank calendars to have a way of visualizing things better.
Once I did that, the story really started to click for me again. That, and I realized the yWriter software I thought had been helping me had actually just been throwing unnecessary complicated fiddliness into the mixture, which gave me another excuse to procrastinate. So I took the story out of yWriter and started writing it in Word again, and that also helped. Once I was able to look at what I had written as a whole, I was able to cut and paste, reorder, rearrange, rewrite, and start to really put the puzzle pieces together. I did a ton of that today, and I feel really good about it.
Three Bikes and a Broomstick (which is what I was previously working on) hit a wall for me when I realized that my three main protagonists were all completely flat and featureless. The story is fun, but I need to flesh out my characters before I continue it.
So, current status:
Jeff Thurman in Universe 12: Stalled, until I figure out how the hell it ends.
Three Bikes and a Broomstick: Stalled, until I flesh out the main characters.
"Ark Ship" (my hard sci-fi short story): Stalled, just generally, until I do some major tweaking.
The Shooter Vanished: Progressing nicely now - hopefully for some time to come.
Of course, knowing me, I'll hit a wall on Shooter Vanished next week. If that happens, I'll turn my attention to cracking one of the other things I have stalled. That's kind of how I'm going to operate, it turns out - have several projects going at once, and work on one of them until I hit a wall, and then move on to another, lather, rinse, repeat, ???, profit.
Anyway. Onward and upward.