Filler & Perfection...Ahhh!
Since becoming a member of this website early last year I’ve learnt A LOT from many amazing, smart writers. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve been trying hard to implement is, just write. That seems to be the key to completing that first draft, don’t worry about your grammar or plot holes or missing details, just write down your story and then work on it. For me, though, it’s easier said than done. I know, I know, I know! I keep telling myself. I know they don’t have to be the greatest works of literature in the world, and they never will be anyway. However, I’m so desperate for my stories to work that I’ve convinced myself they need to be perfect the first time round, even though I’m aware they don’t. That’s probably the main reason I have roughly six unfished novels collecting virtual dust and a sense of dread about trying to finish them.
What’s been bothering me the most lately, and has subsequently brought another story to a halt is my fear of filler. For my latest story I’ve mapped out a few major scenes and so all I really have to do is let my characters find their way there. At first I wasn’t concerned, but as I write the second chapter, which is setting up chapter 3 (which is mostly written…go figure) it’s feeling more and more like pointless dribble. I’ve reasoned with myself that because I’m the all mighty ‘creator’ of my project I’m consequently too close to it and don’t know whether any of chapter 2 offers anything useful.
To give you a rundown of chapter 2 my MC, Lorie, is off to have lunch with her friend, Hayley, in the school cafeteria. This is a first for her since arriving at the school a month ago. She’s not a very social person and finds busy, cramped and noisy places unsettling so she’s not looking forward to it. Nevertheless she joins Hayley and Lorie is quickly bombarded by her friend’s obsession with a boy. They kind of get into an argument (Hayley wants Lorie to be more supportive), but they work out things just as Lorie’s name is announced over the PA system. Together they go to the principal’s office and Lorie goes in alone. The principal tells Lorie she missed her detention yesterday, for being late to school again (she's been late nearly every day since starting school), and as punishment she receives detention for a whole week, which is scheduled for an hour before school so she can learn the values of punctuality. She also receives an additional detention for skipping school during a lunch break (she does this quite often to escape the school environment) after a student informed him. Lorie is angry because she knows who the tattletale is (a snobby girl, who Lorie back chatted to because the girl had been making fun of her). With no choice but to accept her punishment, Lorie leaves the principal’s office and is immediately bombarded with questions from Hayley who assumes Lorie was in trouble. Lorie becomes defensive and calls Hayley a hypocrite and storms off. They soon patch things up. Lorie also makes a bet with Hayley that she can arrive on time to school every day next week. Hayley automatically assumed Lorie’s detention was after school and agrees to the bet, sceptical Lorie will win. They then head up to their lockers. While there Lorie and Hayley get into another quarrel because Lorie asks Hayley if she knows what her next class is. Hayley quickly gives in and says they both have double maths.
The chapter then skips to the end of their class when the bell rings. While everyone is excited about the weekend Lorie isn’t, mostly because she’ll have to spend it at home with her mother (they seriously don’t get along), but first she has a detention to attend. When Lorie arrives she quickly notices she’s not alone, two boys and a girl are sitting up the back and look like regulars. She takes a seat and pulls out her poetry book and quickly begins daydream, until something hits her head. Looking down at the floor she realises the trio are throwing stuff at her. The principal let’s Lorie leave while the others have to stay. Lorie’s grateful and goes home. This is the end of chapter 2. Chapter 3 begins with Lorie’s mother wanting to talk to her about the detentions she’s received, in a not so diplomatic way.
In essence chapter 2 is the scene setter for the argument Lorie has with her mother which becomes the reason she leaves home and bumps into Theo again, the eventual love interest. Chapter 2 will be about 15-18 pages long which isn’t too bad, but does everything I’ve talked about sound engaging or even useful for that matter? I’m just worried that, in the end, it’s pointless or i'll start putting filler into other chapters. What do you guys and gals think? Please help!
It’s a lot to take in I know I’m sorry so thank you for taking the time to read it :redface:
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