1. Nervous1st
    Offline

    Nervous1st Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Australia

    Chain of events

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Nervous1st, May 4, 2009.

    I feel stupid but I need to get this out…

    I have my characters and the theme of my novel firmly in my mind but I don’t seem to have an interesting story line. I know the beginning and I know the end but the middle is where I’m getting stuck… it’s boring.

    I love my characters and the theme is something I feel passionate about but I just can’t seem to come up with an interesting chain of events to get it from one place to the next.

    I don’t even know what I’m asking… maybe I just want to know if anyone has been in this position. I’m not the sort of person who can just write and ‘see where the story goes’ as I end up getting lost. Does anyone know what I’m trying to say?
     
  2. CharlieVer
    Offline

    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Messages:
    0
    Likes Received:
    27
    Location:
    Raritan, NJ
    I had a similar problem when I started my novel (now completed in first draft, and in the extremely long, painful process of redrafting.)

    First, let me recommend reading a book: "How to Write a Damn Good Novel" by Frey. Though in all honesty, I didn't read that book. I read "How to Write a Damn Good Mystery." If your book is a mystery, you might try that one. The author has a whole series of them. He gives much good advice on plotting.

    Try outlining, writing a time line, filling in the parts you know (the beginning, the end) and then come up with ideas to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle. As the writer, you can create those pieces as you go along, and you're always free to change a piece or throw it out as the picture fills in to place.

    I wouldn't recommend just writing without plotting. That works for some writers, but from what you said, I suspect outlining would work better for you, as it did for me. I tried it myself (writing without plotting) and ended up writing 100 pages I threw out, though I did keep a scene or two from those 100 pages. When I tried the "just write" method I found myself creating characters, realizing I hated the character, and then killing them off, creating other characters and making them central before realizing the character is a cardboard stereotype I had no feelings for. By plotting, creating characters and writing their descriptions before I begin, and outlining the main events, I found the process much easier, and I found myself much more attached to my characters. I felt I knew my characters, and the events in my story, before I started writing. That helped me tremendously.

    Charlie
     
  3. Dcoin
    Offline

    Dcoin Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NYC
    The saggy middle seems to be common problem on these fine boards.

    Little tip: as your characters advance from beginning to end, the trip should not be smooth. Put well thought-out conflicts in their way. Twist the road so that when they do get to your ending the reader has a sense fulfillment.
     
  4. Nervous1st
    Offline

    Nervous1st Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Australia
    Thank you for your responses.

    This is good advice. It's actually what I started doing but then it seemed the general practice around here was to write 'with no ending in mind'. So thats what I did until I realised the story wasn't going anywhere.

    I'm glad you mentioned that... I don't feel quite so stupid!
     
  5. arron89
    Offline

    arron89 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    Auckland
    I think it was Kurt Vonnegut who said that the best way to come up with a story (or something along those lines) is to make your characters want something. That helped me a lot, something so simple but SO effective in creating convincing characters and conflicts. Hope it helps you!
     
  6. JackD
    Offline

    JackD New Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    A lot of the time when I get stuck on plotting and don't know how to get from A to B, I either just write anything that could happen (which you've indicated you don't typically do, or I start asking questions.

    These questions could more or less be anything from, "What does my character hate?" to "Why is my character actually going to B? What is their personal motive?" You can pretty much make a story out of answers...of course, chances are you'll drop the idea as soon as you think of another, but those other ideas, as you know, won't come unless you get past this block. Actually, I just read over the other comments, and it sort of links to the timeline, in that your answers could help you think about possible events in the middle, (eg. your character is a family person, he/she meets up with family in the middle or takes time off during travel because of certain reasons and has to choose between forward or back...cliché, I know). The idea of making your characters want something also falls nicely into the question of, "What is my character passionate about?"

    Plotting to me is really driven by your characters. If you're the kind of writer that likes to plot out stories beforehand, you'll need to have a fairly good picture of what your character is like which then allows you to say, ok, this is how he/she would go about this. In other words, Frodo goes to Mordor not because he's a coward (though some may beg to differ), but rather because he has the will and determination to do so. Later on, he falls into Gollum's trap because of his trusting nature. In the same way, Sam stays with Frodo because of his character, particularly his loyality. Anyway, you get the picture, just think about your characters and how they would go about doing something. If you need to, ask yourself questions and see how they contribute to character and your plot.
     

Share This Page