Sometimes an issue I face when writing stories is how to fill in the middle if I'm stuck. What should happen next? How can the story be more engrossing? Should something happen to the character? What would the consequences be? Would they lead to a satisfying ending?
When I raised my concerns to a writing instructor once, completely bewildered as to how to continue my story, she reminded me of a hack. When you’re not sure of how your story should progress, it’s helpful to use a decision support tool called a decision tree to map out the various directions your story could take.
For example, let's say your characters are two kids playing in the park and you're creating a decision tree to figure out what happens next. One of the kids could slip off the jungle gym and have a concussion/find a portal into a magical land/get caught by a stranger in the nick of time etc. and each of those could have lead the story in a different direction.
It's a useful tool to use if you've no idea what the hell should happen next and can give you more clarity about how you want your story to take shape. Naturally it works equally well for non-fiction or even on a broader spectrum with important decisions you may face outside of writing.
What tools do you use to help you make better decisions?