Particularly when you’ve reached the messy middle of writing a novel, it can feel like you are keeping a bunch of plates spinning while balanced on a tightrope over the Grand Canyon. It’s hard to keep your whole novel in your head and keep things making sense as you careen toward the climax.
As a result, sometimes writers can be a bit linear as they think about what happens next. They might know they need to get a character from Point A to Point B, impart some information, introduce a new character… essentially some box that needs to be ticked. So they build a whole scene to push that one thing forward.
But don’t stop there. Think about how you can push multiple elements forward to make scenes feel more lively, enriched, and unexpected.