Writer’s constipation

Forgive the, uh, unpleasant connotations of the metaphor. But there’s a particular frustration associated with writing–at least for me; I assume for others–and I can’t think of a better term for it.

It’s not writer’s block, not exactly. It’s far more specific. The phenomenon I’m speaking of is this:

Right now, I’m struggling with a short story I want to write. I have the basic concept of the story, but I have been unable, for the life of me, to make the jump from "concept" to "story." I know what the story’s about; I just don’t know what happens.

And it’s irritating as all hell. It’s not a problem I have frequently, but when I do, it stops me cold. It’s almost worse than not having an idea at all, because when that’s the case, all I need is to find some inspiration. In this case, I have the gist. I have the "elevator pitch," as it were. I could write a summary or a blurb. But I absolute haven’t been able to figure out how to break that idea down into the concrete details–the actual events–that form a story.

What makes it even worse is that this is a character I’ve written before, and really enjoy writing, so it should be coming easier than other stuff. But again, my problem isn’t the character, it’s the plot.

Urgh. I know that it’s not ultimately that big a deal. Either I’ll figure it out, or I’ll abandon the short story idea. But it’s so frustrating, having the raw materials of an idea and not being able to sculpt a coherent story out of it.