1. daiisydukes
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    daiisydukes Member

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    Filling in empty plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by daiisydukes, Apr 30, 2013.

    It seems like this happens every time I write, and it's getting somewhat frustrating. I always have huge plot points here, and there, but never have any idea how to fill in the empty, less important stuff. I know the basic idea of character development when there's nothing else to write, but other than that I'm pretty stuck.
    Does anyone else have this problem? If so, how do you fix it?
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me, character development is the most important stuff and most of the fun. Not what you do when "there's nothing else to write."
     
  3. daiisydukes
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    daiisydukes Member

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    I don't think I said "when there's nothing else to write". When planning, usually you write out the general plot and then important plot points. Obviously, character development shouldn't be only when there's nothing else to write, but I was talking about character development of the less important characters.
    My question was, what do you write about in between the big, pre-planned plot points?
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ummm.... Okay. Whatever you say.

    My answer would still be character development. I would expect that there would still be minor and related plot points that would lead up to the larger ones, as well. Perhaps someone else can give you an answer that will help you more.
     
  5. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    is this for a short story? At any rate, the general "fomula" for a story is

    Character wants X, but Y is stopping that character, so he does Z, and overcomes or doesnt overcome Y
     
  6. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Cut anything/everything out that does not reveal character, pass information to the reader, or move the story forward. That is the answer. Really.
     
  7. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    This would be the answer if there is too much story, but the OP's problem is that there isn't enough. This important to remember after you have something written, but until them I would say just start writing. You don't need to plan everything. The story, like a child, will grow on its own, and your job is to guide it through your plot points. Once you have stuff written, you can fill things in and rework things better. Even if you don't finish a first draft, get something going and let the story and characters start building. That is part of the CREATIVE WRITING process.... the writing. lol
     
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  8. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Another way of looking at this is: Do not write anything that does not reveal character, pass information to the reader, or move the story forward. Again... that is the answer.
     
  9. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I won't argue, but I respectfully beg to differ. I don't see it as the final definitive answer for someone who hasn't started writing past their plot development.

    To the OP:
    I don't think there is a definitive answer. It all really depends on what the story calls for. I speak from experience when I say the most important thing to do is write. All the planning is good, but the writing itself will allow you to know your characters enough and where your story wants to go as well as the tone that will allow you to plant your feet somewhere. I'm not saying to ignore Nee's comment by any means. Nee is right for the most part, but that formula is very rigid and very constraining when you are trying to write something for the first time. It will limit your thinking and the story won't be able to expand or grow because you'll be controlling and funneling it instead of guiding it and getting to know it. What comes in between should be revelatory to the readers in some way, but as to what it reveals depends on each scene.

    For the first run, write whatever you feel needs to come at a certain time and then reread it and rethink it. It is easier to work that way because you get things started as opposed to limiting your possibilities. Write whatever you think the scene needs, then take out what's unnecessary after.
     
  10. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    It is not a formula, it is a process. At the moment you notice that a passage is not working: cut it. Then either rewrite it so that it does work, or replace it with something that does work, or join-up the sentences on either side of what was once there.

    It saves time. It is easier to find something that works rather than spending who knows how long trying to get something to work that just isn't working.

    Really, the answer is cut it. Then revise or rewrite.
     
  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This is a very easy thing to say, but not often an easy thing to do. Many times, the writer doesn't know in advance what will move the story forward or what will reveal character. The writer is simply staring at a blank screen (or page) and wondering how to fill it.

    At times like that, it's important to encourage the writer to simply write. Let him discover what develops character; let him develop what advances plot. It's writing. It's an art. It's not all about saving time.

    Once it's all down, the writer can edit out the blatant filler and expand upon the valuable material. It's an opportunity to strengthen the story.
     
  12. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Part of the problem is that we have to use the word "Plot" when describing this sort of thing. It makes it sound as if it is something separate from the rest of the story elements. The best way to keep your head thinking in a way that will help keep you out of this acid pit, is to remember that the plot is only what has happened in the story. But of course, if you are currently in the process of writing the story then it (the plot) hasn't happened yet.

    What I am saying is that you can recognize that this passage, or that passage, isn't working without presupposing what the plot is. And since it's all made up anyway, then why not just cut out what is not working so that it is not staring you in the face preventing you from seeing something else that may work in that place better than what you already got sitting there at that time.

    You know the old mind game of telling someone not to think of dinosaurs. Well there you are, thinking of dinosaurs. But if you take that whole idea out then, you have room to think of another thing to fill that space. Now...when stuck trying to think of what comes next and you just start writing any old thing to get you started, the moment you catch the thread, cut out the drivel that came before so as to keep you on target.

    And what is the target? Revealing character, passing information to the reader, and moving the story forward. It is both a guild for focusing on the moment and a rule for the editing and revision process.
     
  13. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Character development is just as important as plot, imo. I don't see character development as being a filler. I'm not seeing why you're referring to it as such. :/
     
  14. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Plot is just what your characters end-up doing in response to the stressers of the situation they find themselves in. (A Cause and Effect Cascade) You can not separate character from plot, or plot from character.
     

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