1. Earthshine
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    Earthshine Member

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    Filling in the (Plot) Gaps

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Earthshine, Jan 19, 2014.

    Hello everyone.

    For the past few years I have been working on a story idea. As part of this endeavour, I have on several occasions tried to plot out my novel. The only problem is, my plot is full of gaps and holes. I have ideas for certain scenes and plot points which are so clear to me I could easily write them at this moment. However, I have trouble deciding what should be in-between these scenes. When I try to fill these gaps, my attempts at plot are weak and clich├ęd at best, lacking any interest or originality.

    So my question is, how do you guys fill in plot gaps? Are there any exercises you do to help you shape your plot? Any advice is welcome :).

    Thanks.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I do what you describe by thinking on and deciding what it is I want to show about/with my characters, what kind of exposition I want for each of them. When I know what I want to say with each of them then the choices for how to say it narrow down within the context of the greater scaffolding of the story.
     
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  3. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, damn those gaps... ;)

    If I have a well defined (or already written) scenes A and C, I either plot a "natural" path for scene B (he can't swim, but has to cross the river=make him a bridge,a boat,a giant turtle) which can get as cliche or as original depending on the state of my creativity; or, in some cases, I find it best to just skip this "link"-scene (it wasn't important in the first place, or it makes for a better read if I add some mystery). If writing a filler scene stalls my writing, I'll ditch it and proceed to the scene I can tell something with.
     
  4. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Research of your story i suppose, i see my plot points, then i look at the journey and look for such gaps then see if I can fill them as i go. I kinda use a bread crumb method, i follow it through over and over both directions. If i see a plot point i cant fill or explain I do my best to get rid and use something else. The one thing I have learned here and when writting is not to let the piece get so precious that its about a heavy edit.
     
  5. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    I run into this whenever I start a story, as I'll inevitably get ideas for characters and scenes, but I'll never get a full-blown storyline. I do what Wrey says at the beginning, making sure I know who my characters are and what each of them is looking for/trying to do. That helps me to chart a path. I also need to know the endgame fairly quickly, so I can guide that path in a direction. Then, once I know the general flow of events, I plan out usually a chapter or two at a time and get writing. I find that when I start writing and get into the head of my POV character I can get a lot of words out of a single scene, because when you show your characters you can't just gloss it over like bullet points. Or, at least, I can't.

    The key for me is that I know certain scenes are coming up, and I need to get my characters to them. So I think about what the motivations are for that character in that scene, and then I have to figure out what will give her/him that motivation. I need to connect it to where I am now. Usually it's a matter of getting into the character's head, as above, and showing the current scene and ending it in a way that sets it up for the next scene, which is easy enough to manipulate because I know my character.

    So bottom line, the better I know my characters, the easier it is to manipulate them into going where I need them to go for the scenes I do have in my head.
     
  6. Earthshine
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    Earthshine Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I guess I'll give them a try :).
     
  7. Ryan Jones
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    Ryan Jones New Member

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    Create subplots and suggest them in the first parts of your story and tie them up in the end. Don't run with them too much as that will take away from the original plot, but having them in there should carry your reader through until the ending.
     
  8. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Plots are usually problems and the obstacles and the resolutions are where the cliches can come in. Either the problems are too easily solved, or too familiarly solved. Which can lead into more cliche twists and turns.

    Take for instance a zombie story - a man runs into a blocked off alley with the zombies bearing down on him. You brain storm your options - he could climb a fire escape, a machine gun wielding stranger could appear, he could lob a Molotov cocktail. All pretty familiar ideas. What if he blows a dog whistle and somehow has found their achilles heel? A new twist that can spark some interesting ideas - especially if the whistle is somehow damaged and could be the only one of it's kind.
    The good way to strengthen a plot is get rid of anything that's too easy or too familiar - throw something unusual in the mix.
     

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