To a novelist, that man's advice is worth its weight in diamonds. Over the years I have read a lot of things that Twain wrote about the art of telling a readable story. But nothing has ever been more useful to me than his advice about what to do when a story stalls out on you, and you just don't know where to go next with it.
He said to do nothing. Literally nothing. Put it away for awhile and forget it exists. Some of his books sat in pigeonholes for years while he waited for the writing to break loose again. I had recently hit that point with "Recompense" I know exactly how the final third of the book is going to go. I have the first third written. But the middle third refused to shape itself into a configuration that would join them up.
I was about to shove my head through the drywall. Then I remembered what Twain said and I quit cold turkey. Started doing anything and everything. Different stories, moving furniture, yard work, organizing my office. I started game modding (which I plan to continue, this is starting to get interesting). I did just about everything there is to do around here except write on my third book.
This morning I woke up and the movies were playing in my head. The plot inconsistency was fixed. The rough patches were smooth. Progress has resumed. Proves once more, if you need advice go to the voice of experience.