It finally happened. That moment when you look at your manuscript and say "And then what?" A great void opens underneath you and you fall into an all-encompassing pit known as... writer's block.
Never fear! I am here to throw you a rope.
Recently, I discovered a blog by Janice Hardy called "The other side of the story." If you want to write successfully, I strongly recommend checking it out here. I perused some of the hundreds of articles with writing advice and realized that the reason my plot wasn't going anywhere was because of my antagonist. I didn't spend enough time with it, and now it was just this big thing with no shape or substance. If you don't know who or what the "bad guy" is, how do you know what your "good guy" is up against?
Let's take a classic example. Let's talk about Star Wars: A New Hope.
We all know that Luke Skywalker is the hero. He's on a quest to become a Jedi like his father before him and restore balance to the force.
Now pretend we knew next to nothing about Darth Vader and The Emperor. They're just some dudes. Pretty boring stuff, yes?
But, given what we know about Vader, he intercepts Luke at every turn, always causing Luke to change or adapt his plan in order to be successful. That's what keeps us interested, despite the (personal opinion) horrible dialogue George Lucas cranks out.
If you were to sum up your story to a page or so, would it be a series of cause and effects? Your antagonist is the driving force behind those actions. If you come to a hole in the cause and effect chain, evaluate it. Does it progress the story in some way? If not, why is it necessary? If you need to keep it, how can you prevent that section from being a chapter and a half of exposition?
Need help answering these questions? Ask your antagonist. It's their story too.