"Discover what each character needs."
Great writing advice, right? Even though he uses it for films, it's the same sort of idea. And it can help get me out of a NaNo slump. Because my characters will always need something (a drink of water, a slap, to find the key to the hidden garden door**, whatever). And if I give them what they need, the story will be over. So, naturally, I give them (or allow them to take) what they think they need, insuring all manner of mayhem.
What does your character need? A quest? Love? A job? Comedy? Some kind of Personal Knowledge? If you know what they need, you're well on your way to denying them for a few chapters (or a lot of chapters, if you happen to be a long-form, dedicated, non-flighty sort of writer). Let's get back to the writing.***
*When I hit that, the "!" didn't come out, because I was sliding off of the shift key. It said Husband1, but only for a second. He is Husband 1, you know, but also HusbandForever.
**What? That's been done? Why didn't someone tell me that 20,000 words ago? Come on, people!
***As opposed to the writing about writing, which is nice, but doesn't add to my climbing word-count. So, bye.