I have this tag for posts, “when in doubt.” It refers to the old writer’s axiom, “when in doubt, send in a man with a gun.” Not literally a guy with a gun, necessarily, but something to shake up the plot, jolt you out of whatever rut you’re stuck in or route you around whatever wall you’re facing, and make it possible to move on with the story (in a more interesting fashion, hopefully).
Well, right now I have a bit of plot I need to figure out and haven’t yet, plus I’m exhausted from waking up at 4 a.m. (Thanksgiving travel, how I hate thee). So I sat down and thought, “okay, I can splice in this bit, and hopefully that will get me up to my word count for the day, but a) it’s going to be hard work with my brain this dead and b) I don’t know where I’m going after that.”
Instead, I gave a character malaria.
When in doubt, send in a mosquito with P. falciparum.