1. Huelwei handa
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    Huelwei handa New Member

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    I can't decide chapters/scenes after writing my story's timeline.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Huelwei handa, Aug 3, 2015.

    I've written out a timeline/ order of events for my story, like an incredibly specific summary, but now I'm having trouble determining how to split it up into chapters. When I first tried to create the chapter outline, I ended up making 30 chapters within the first quarter of book and that was simply too much. I need a way to condense my events timeline into chapter summaries or just a scene timeline.

    Also, I created a timeline for the backstory and I'm not sure exactly how to incorporate it.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hello Huelwei,

    With my WIP I've got many (I don't know how many!) separate incidents that happen on a timeline. The first dozen or so are like a gathering storm...a collection of small incidents that function as the catalysts to the first big action. So they're my first chapter. Then (I think, because I haven't written it yet) comes the big action, chapter two.

    I'm guessing that your "30 chapters" would probably fit more comfortably as scenes within a smaller number of chapters...if you take a typical three-act play, each act will be split up into a number of different scenes.
     
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  3. Revilo87
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    Revilo87 Member

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    I would suggest to just follow your outline and begin writing your story. Don't worry about how to break it down, as you're writing you'll either naturally just realize where the chapter should end, or you can just go back and enter a break at a fitting point.

    Also I'm not sure how detailed your outline is, but even if the first 3 scenes/chapters happen in different locations/times of day, etc they can all still be in the same chapter so long as they're all leading up to the same thing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
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  4. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    For me I just started writing and figured out chapters along the way. I ended up making my Chapters 8-9 pages long and not thinking about the end of the chapter until I got there. Idk if this helps at all though.
     
  5. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    When I'm working from an outline, I do pretty much what Revilo87 suggested. As I get close to a 'cliffhanger' moment in the story, that's when I end the chapter.

    Ways to determine cliffhanger moments:
    • a decision is about to be made,
    • an unexpected character appears on the scene,
    • a revelation of information is about to take place,
    • someone the reader cares for is suddenly in danger,
    There are more, lots more, but that gives you an idea. If you need to get a feel for this kind of thing, maybe take a novel you've already read and read the last few paragraphs at the ends of the chapters to see what makes it a cliffhanger. I say it should be a novel you've already read because you'll be less likely to get lost as to what's going on overall in the story.
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Along the lines of what Revilo87 indicated. Just begin writing, using your outline, realizing that as the story is told, the outline may be altered a bit. Your story should fall into beats or with a tempo of events, dialogue, time passage where scene breaks and chapter endings feel our sound right.

    If you're unsure, take a look at some of your favorite novels by your favorite authors, especially if it's the same sort of novel/genre. Re-read and take note of when they incorporated scene breaks and new chapters. Observe the situation and the reason for the break and transition. Then apply what you learned to your writing style and story being told.
     
  7. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you have an outlinge, write to your outline. Add chapter breaks later.
     
  8. Jack13star
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    Jack13star Member

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    I agree with all of the above. You have an outline, you know where you want the story to go, all you have to do is get it there, the breaks will feel natural as you go. I did a rough outline, then broke it into 3 parts, each leading into the other, so I knew the beginning, middle and end, all there was left to do was fill in the rest.
     

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