1. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    Extending a story without filler

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Sarah's scribbles, Jul 25, 2015.

    Alright so I'm working on a story idea. It's a bit of exploring the hero role. In the story, there's a man, he was once renowned as a hero and even saved the world from a great evil. but sure enough once the hero had served his purpose and the evil was vanquished there was no need for him anymore. the hero, among other powers, has a healing factor which makes him age rather slowly. He can also shape shift. getting into all of his powers would take too much time.

    So the hero comes up with a plan he will raise a new crop of villains to be his new foes. I put a bit more into it in another thread if you would like to read http://www.writingforums.org/threads/good-heroes-and-good-villains.140524/#post-1356176

    So I'm trying to come up with the overall progression of the story. I've got a few things I want to include and I'm still building on the cast really. But how do you guys come up with things to include in the story that aren't just filler. I've seen many scenes in published book series that try to extend it and just end up being mindless filler. sure there are sometimes where I've seen the filler be on purpose to expose some kind of truth or detail about the protagonist, but there have been many books I've read where filler is not properly done.

    So, any ideas for my story and any tips on how to make sure I include what's needed and leave out clutter.

    Also. do you consider starting a story with a kind of philosophical exposition about the characters to be a bad idea.
     
  2. clhiggins
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    clhiggins New Member

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    Yes, a philosophical exposition would be a bad idea. Exposition is rarely a good idea. You need to work to use other devises to convey your story. For example, you can use your character's response to people and events and even to his environment and personal belongings to convey his despair, his lethargy, his passivity, his lack of motivation, and then you never have to say "He was depressed". This kind of writing can take care of most of the philosophy of your character's person, throughtout the story without digressing to an informational exposition which would be a death knell for your book.

    Rather than try to lengthen the story, I would try to 'flesh it out' with sub-plots and sub-themes which serve to elaborate your points. For example, your character's personal conflicts with finding himself obsolete can be contrasted to another person's finding himself obsolete. Even a person your main character despises - does the other character, though he' say, weaker, get fired from a company but find out he doesn't need to be such a success to be happy? Yet your character finds himself losing all his long-livedness and aging quickly once he's not useful any more and can't accept that, going to the 'dark side' to create a need for his abilities. Compare and contrast. These kinds of things can flesh out your book and bring sublety to the story without having to make a speech to the reader. Beleive me, the reader wants to get the philosophy and stuff all on his own, and if you write it well, he doesn't need to be told how to think!

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    It does actually. thank you. I will have to work on this. and thank you for the thought you put into this. I am still building on the story and trying to "flesh it out." as you said. I was a bit hesitant on what to add though because I want to be aware of everything that is important to the story. for example in a book I was reading the other day there was an unneeded half a chapter where the female protagonist had some time in the shower together. there was no exposition or anything needed more so the length of it I would describe as a bit of fan service gone wrong. however it had made it into the series I once admired and rather liked before they were getting into an over extension of the plot and just ramming more books down our throats.

    I will try to keep what you said in mind while crafting my story. I want it to be something which connects to the audience and I did find myself being somewhat preachy during the length of the exposition even though it was only a page and a half.

    Would you care to talk more on the story I would like your opinion on a few things if you have the time. if not I understand.
     
  4. aguywhotypes
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    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    This is why I write short stories. I have yet to read a novel that didn't have some sort of filler in it.
     
  5. Victoria Griffin
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    Victoria Griffin Member

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    I am a list-type person so my answer will reflect that. Actually, I believe I'll write my answer in list form.
    1. Make a list of things you would like to achieve in the next chapter, or in the whole story, if that's how you roll. Include plot points, but also include things you'd like to reveal about the characters, relationships you'd like to flesh out, perhaps themes to explore.
    2. Make a list of scenes to accomplish the goals from list #1.
    3. Write them.
    Ok, short list, but you get the gist. I believe there should never be filler scenes. If it doesn't have a purpose, it doesn't belong. Replace it with something that does.

    Also, believe it or not, I'm a pantser. This is really an editing tool for me. Because "the first draft of anything is shit" anyway, right?
     
  6. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    Easy: "Why?" ask yourself that. Why do I need this in my book? "How" does this effect your book? And if this wasn't in my book would it make a difference?

    You may also want to ask yourself "why" does your "hero" feel the need to create new villains.
     
  7. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    I had never seen that term before. Learn something new every day. I will attempt this method thank you.
     
  8. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    I will remember to do that thank you.

    The hero finds people forgetting about him. the selfish need to be admired and hailed for his great efforts and glorious accomplishes drives him to decide if there is no one to defeat then he would make enemies for himself. it's sort of like if someone sets a fire just so that they can put it out and get praised for putting it out. psychologically speaking, it's like a hypochondriac or the boy who cried wolf. They want the attention so much that it blinds them to the down side of their actions and what they're doing. there will be a scene in the story where the "Hero." decides that if the "villains." aren't going to do anything major, he would do something major and blame them to get people against them. I know from a healthy frame of thought you can see that he's in the wrong, but he's so determined to be the hero he never realizes he's become the true villain.
     
  9. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    You're welcome. Also you might want to show the reader how your 'Hero' got from point A to point B. What happened that changed him from being the Hero who loved the city (or planet or whatnot) to the Villain who wants people to think he is needed still.
     
  10. PrincessSofia
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    PrincessSofia Active Member

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    I can't help sorry, but I love your plot, it's really interesting :D !!
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This ^

    If the answer is, to feel relevant again, you have a lot of work to do to assure the reader will care about the character wanting this.

    Or is it because he thinks people are ungrateful?

    It's not filler you need, it's plot. You are describing what is to happen without an describing an underlying story.

    As for the philosophical exposition, I wouldn't go near. Ayn Rand couldn't even pull it off at the end of Atlas Shrugged let alone as a prologue. But, I wouldn't tell you not to if you really thought your story needed it. Write the thing but be prepared to chuck it if the feedback you get is negative.
     
  12. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    thank you
     
  13. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    I had already written it by the time I posted the thread I was just having severe doubts about it that's why I ask and that's what I'm doing too is having it set aside but prepared to delete
    also, I love Ayn Rand

    It's focused more so on the villains he's tried to create. but I will keep that in mind. I'm still trying to find a way to fit all the pieces together honestly. I have this problem a lot I come up with these ideas and then I don't finish them before I start and another one comes alone and another one. I'm trying to ground myself though. thank you for your advice
     
  14. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the best way to go about this is to put more obstacles between the hero and his goal. Look at any scenes you may already have in mind ask yourself how the scene would play out if, instead of being a step forward, accomplishing this particular step actually makes the next step harder.
     
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  15. AspiringNovelist
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    AspiringNovelist Contributing Member

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    When I have just an idea and no real plot, I create brainstorming 1-liner outlines, like this:

    Just as a side note, I'm going to take your hero idea and present it as a real world situation over the last 60 years...

    1. MC (hero) saves world from a great evil (US helps save world from Hitler, 1945),
    2. MC (hero) savors his spot in the sun for years,
    3. MC (hero) once grand stature begins to wane. (People feel safe, and listened to Tina Turner's we don't need another hero..),
    4. MC (hero) in an effort to rebound, makes several bad choices (other wars, 1960)
    4a..TWIST, the MC (hero)'s bad choices makes/creates a whole host of new enemies (1990, Bin Laden),
    5. One enemy comes to forefront and a) attacks MC (hero), or b) places MC (hero) in a terrible predicament,
    6. Other characters divide and fall in line behind MC (hero) and the new great evil,
    7. MC (Hero) fights off new great evil (present day)..

    That's my little secret I use to come up with tales...Then, I ponder for a day or two, revisit, then fill in with 1a, 1b, 1c. etc. < -- these become compelling fillers.

    Edited: I forgot to answer you main question, filler. As long as the filler fits into the plot, then as the reader I take it for what it is. Try to not overdo it. If the filler doesn't fit like this:

    Simple Buttered Grits

    1 cup coarsely-ground grits
    5 cups water or stock (4 1/2 if you want thicker grits)
    1 teaspoon salt
    4 tablespoons butter (or to taste, go with your heart)


    Then remove it.

    Hope that helps.
    Good Luck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015
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