Invariably when I am writing a screenplay a “plot” problem is actually a “character” problem. If I don’t know what should happen next then I do not know my character(s) well enough, for if I knew them they would tell me what they wanted to do.
Unfortunately it can take a long time to really get to know somebody, you have to walk through conflict with a person, you have to ask them difficult questions if you want to really see inside. To see inside someone is to know their character.
But time is a valuable commodity and everyone likes a shortcut; so instead of taking time to get to know my characters I am tempted to make assumptions, to stereotype, or to manipulate them into behaving as I would in any given situation. In a very real sense it has become my story instead of theirs.
As in fiction so it can be in life…