1. Riley Blackheart
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    Riley Blackheart New Member

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    The little things in between

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Riley Blackheart, Aug 8, 2015.

    Hey guys. New to the forum (and writing forums in general) but seen a lot of interesting threads already.
    I am having trouble coming up with those "non important" scenes. I have the plot all lined up, written all those scenes, but to me it seems like it's too much. I remember someone saying that "if it doesn't move the story forward, remove it".
    My story (fan fiction) is about a young female hockey player about to break through. She leaves a team in the middle of a season because of personal problems and a love affair with a team mate that went wrong. She likes her new team (and yes, that includes the dazzling doctor...) but gets off to a bad start with a team mate. There are several confrontations (also with her previous team in a game) and things heat up with the doctor.
    I have written all of those scenes, the obstacles and how she gets around/over them. Even the ending. But it feels incomplete. When I read through it I feel like I'm jumping from one hot stone to the other, not getting any rest between. But on the other side, this is what the story is about. She lives and breathes hockey, and she can't really steer clear of the drama either since she sees both the doctor and the annoyed team mate every day.

    What would you do? Subplot? Just easy scenes of everyday life? Would love to hear your thoughts.

    (PS. I hope this wasn't too complicated. English is not my first language, and it was difficult to even describe it in my native tongue!)
     
  2. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Yo, yo! Welcome to the forum!

    This is what I'm learning myself. It's hella easy to write a beginning and an ending. Just start a problem on one end and finish it up on the other. It's describing the long goal to the ending that's the problem.

    I think a mix-match of sub-plot, everyday life (C'mon, our protagonists can't be saving the day 24/7 with no rest, now can they? :p), character development and main plot goes a long way to reaching that goal. The way I look at it is that they either take care of the sub-plot, relax (here is where the character development usually takes place), or tackle the main plot. The point is that they're doing something that advances one of the plots, or develops the setting/character a bit more.
     
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  3. DueNorth
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    DueNorth Active Member

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    The "little things" are what make you characters interesting--what makes us like them or not like them, find them to be intriguing and/or compelling. How does your protagonist (and other characters) experience the world? What is their internal life? What details about where and how they live help us know them?

    And I do agree that all should add to the story. Go back to some novels you love and reread with attention to how these "little things" enhanced the story.

    (And vote in the summer writing contest--some of those stories have great attention to little things.)
     
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  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Exactly, they have a life outside saving the world or whatever the main plot is about. Even if that little thing is them taking a stroll through the park, it's what they see and how they react to it that helps us better understand them. How they interact with the world, and how the world interacts with them, etc.
     
  5. DueNorth
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    DueNorth Active Member

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    Also, the little things in a scene set the mood like the cliched "it was a dark and stormy night." Doing so in a more subtle and creative fashion is part of the craft. Good luck with your novel. I am well into mine and I work, work, work on the little things in setting scene, tone, and mood.
     
  6. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It's not clear to me whether your story is finished or not. If it's not, just keep pegging away as you're doing now. If it IS finished, why not give it to a few beta readers for feedback? You can explain your concern to them, and ask them to keep an eye out for scenes they feel don't add to the forward motion of the story.

    I made the mistake, while writing mine, of thinking it was a great idea to occasionally portray a single event from two points of view characters. I thought it would be great to show the reader how different characters experienced a particular event. One of my beta readers became irritated by this. He told me he'd dive into a scene, then realise he already 'knew all that.' He managed to give me his criticism in the form of a compliment, bless his little cotton socks. He said he was able to figure out the reactions of the other characters from what I'd showed about them the first time. He didn't enjoy the recap. Kind words aside, I took his point. I went through and removed these double scenes, after deciding which POV was the most important for each one.

    If I were you, I'd also put your finished story away for a good while. Then go back and read it yourself, with fresh eyes. Ask yourself—what would happen if I removed this scene? What would be lost? If nothing, then it's probably ripe to be dumped. If there is some minor point in a scene that you want to keep, then you can work it in someplace else, and dump the rest.

    Many of these kind of issues are best tackled at the edit stage, rather than the 'first write' stage. You won't really know what fits and what is necessary till you can see the whole, finished picture. Give yourself enough distance to be able to do this. But in the first draft stage, just let your writing flow. Better to have too much than too little, I reckon.
     
  7. Louis D. Thorpe
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    Louis D. Thorpe Member

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    My idea of a story that "lives and breathes" hockey is rather simple.

    It has to end with winning the championship game or there has to be an unexpected twist.

    Do you have the ending yet? Is it about winning the championship?
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ok, don't include unimportant scenes in your book. Every one of them should serve a purpose, even if it's just getting to know the character better, portraying a different side of her, developing relationships with other characters or add tension or conflict. Subplots, like Link mentioned, is a good way to do this. But don't add any scenes just for filler purpose. Readers spot them instantly and start to think your story is dragging.
     
  9. Riley Blackheart
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    Riley Blackheart New Member

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    Thanks guys for your input.
    To answer a few of you; no, my story is not finished at all. I just seem to have trouble coming up with all these scenes in between. Maybe I have been too focused on the core story of it.
    I also have the ending ready. It is of course about the championship, I can't really write this story without a win at the end. But it will also have some twists along the way.

    I have sort of put this story aside right now. I was just annoyed when I opened the story and tried to get back into the rhythm. I will bring it back later and hopefully I will have a fresh pair of eyes.
    Thank you again!
     

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