1. ChaseTheSun

    ChaseTheSun Senior Member

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    Bridging the gap between scenes/events

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by ChaseTheSun, Mar 11, 2017.

    So I've written the first four chapters (approx 12,000 words) and I know where the manuscript needs to go next, as of about chapter six or seven.. but no idea how to bridge the gap with a cohesive, logical and necessary chapter five/six. Any tips for how to bridge that gap in between? It wouldn't make sense to just jump to the next series of scenes that I have in mind. I need something to segue, but won't it just be obvious filler if I make something up to sit in the space?
     
  2. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Senior Member

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    That depends a lot on what your next scene is, and what your current one is. I have this problem a lot, but I'm writing a road trip/adventure novel, so usually when I need to get from one point to the next, it's 'They have finished everything that needs to be done at their current location, and now need to travel for a week'. It depends on circumstances, but I usually insert my character development scenes in here if they don't fit elsewhere - Namely, my two protagonists getting to know each other better, one of them learning and practicing swordplay and magic, both of them sharing stories and history. It's not good for more than a chapter or two, but it's a nice bit of glue between setpieces and has worked out to produce some of my favorite chapters.

    For you... I dunno if that will work, because I don't know your story, but I hope it helps!
     
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  3. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

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    I quite understand. If you have nothing more to say then just move ahead and continue where you wish to.

    For example if I had three people travelling for a month, I would just say that they travelled for a month and then take up the story from where I want to. I wouldn't "fill in" just for the sake of it. Stick to what is important for whatever you wish to tell the reader and leave out the rest.

    If such a blatantly obvious answer doesn't work for you then it may be worth creating a side story that runs along with the theme of your novel. For example if I was telling the story of some group of artists trying to create a huge work of art, I may add a side story that involves the people you get all their material together and show the unsung work put into the people who gave the artist the backdrop they work in. Or if it is a group fighting in a civil war, maybe I would contrast this with the story of conflicts within the army concerning supplies, as a mini-conflict to mirror the greater scale of the civil war. Or if there was a group of adventuring going on a quest, I could perhaps show a more mundane equivalent from the point of view of a child exploring outside of their own street for the first time.

    With the side story idea you may have to throw some subtle hints into the main story to make it gel together, or maybe you already have something in place you could build from?
     
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  4. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Maybe Chapters 1-5 are "Part I" and chapters 6+ are "Part II"?
     
  5. Caveriver

    Caveriver Active Member

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    I am really challenged with this right now also- so much so I've been spinning my wheels for over a year. I'm right up to a pivotal moment for my MC, but the more I try to GET my characters TO this scene, the more filler I see that I need to come first. This has resulted in some interesting sub-plot development, and character growth, but the more I dig, the more scene I find need to come before the big one. And I'm just not that motivated to tackle them (they feel forced, even though I see their purpose)... and yet I can't jump right to the big scene because I need to write that with characters who have already been through the developments that happen beforehand... Infuriating Catch 22.

    I wish I had some helpful advice, but seeing as how I haven't solved this problem for myself, I'm not going to attempt to offer any. Only encouragement!!
     
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  6. malaupp

    malaupp Active Member

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    It depends on what you mean by "filler". Sometimes you have to throw in a "the next week went slowly for the protagonist" paragraph just to show time passing. Although if you have a little side plot or something, you could always throw in a scene for that.
     
  7. Caveriver

    Caveriver Active Member

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    I am referring more to events and conversations that shape and guide a character's motivations in order to bring them to the major event. Just when I think I'm ready to send them into that situation I realize X conversation needs to happen first in order to bring them into an appropriate mindset
     
  8. malaupp

    malaupp Active Member

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    Ah, then I actually have a system for that. Write out the bigger picture you want to have happen. Underneath that, write out (in no particular order, just write them down as you think of them) all the things/scenes/conversations/events that would need to happen for that to occur. Once you're certain you have everything necessary written out, then you can organize them. Either a lot of crossing out and writing on a single sheet of paper, or write out each occurrence on a note card and physically rearrange them that way.
     
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  9. Caveriver

    Caveriver Active Member

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    I've tried something similar before (the notecard approach), but maybe it's time to try it again. Nothing to lose! Thanks.
     
  10. JE Loddon

    JE Loddon Active Member

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    Character development/subplot. Everyone has other stuff going on. That stuff can take up some of their time/concentration. I enjoy a book that has a little bit of meandering. If I was on a quest to reunite the torn pages of a magic book, I'd still need to check up on my Mum, and go to Subway on the way.
     
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  11. ChaseTheSun

    ChaseTheSun Senior Member

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    I only just got the alerts that you have all responded to this thread, I'm so sorry for the delay in my response! Thanks everybody for engaging! However, I will have to wait until tomorrow to respond, as apparently 2 glasses of red wine drunk in quick succession does things to my brain. Goodnight, all. :)
     
  12. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    I had the similar scenario... a 17,000 mile trip by sea and by land 2000 years ago. Each leg contributed something to the story, but didn't require a detailed step by step. For example, the sea leg from the Straits of Malacca to Tianjin was enormously long, in fact the longest sea leg, with stops in Rinan (Hanoi), Yulin (Canton) and various others... but it was highly telescoped, probably took six weeks but used only a few pages to describe the significant events... having to stow and seal their heavy weapons in Rinan before entering Chinese waters, the sudden appearance of a lot of big Chinese ships the size of their own heading south, both crews lining the rails to gawk and wave as they passed abeam.

    Their first encounter with a caravan got a lot of story... what a caravansary was, how it worked, their role as passengers of sorts. The next caravan was more of the same so it got just short shrift... the reader already had this operation in his mind. Big deal for that leg was crossing the Irkeshtam Pass into the Pamirs, altitude sickness, so forth. And, since nothing much was happening, a chance for some of my characters to be introspective around a campfire, drinking, telling stories about themselves, sharing some of their fears/concerns.

    If nothing much happens in that leg, just teleport!
     
  13. ChaseTheSun

    ChaseTheSun Senior Member

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    Interesting thoughts to consider!! Thanks :)

    Hmm that's a thought. I was considering breaking it into four sections, each one a period of 5 years, each of these sections headed with something like, "Lustrum 1: In which I learned to break." "Lustrum 2: In which I learned to see." "Lustrum 3:..." Etc. Within these lustrum (meaning 5 years) sections, sub-sections split up by dates but not chapters. I don't know why but every time I think about breaking the manuscript into chapters, it's like I'm hearing nails being scraped down a chalkboard. It just doesn't seem right. But I can't explain why - neither to someone else, nor even to myself. I know such an aversion to solid chapter breaks doesn't make logical sense. And yet here I am. So yeah, I will have a think about parting it off the way you've suggested :)

    How does one create sub plots? I have the stories of several characters in my head but they all seem of equal importance: if characters A & B didn't have that storyline, then characters X & Y wouldn't be able to have this one. So which one is the subplot? They both seem like coinciding primary plot. Ugh. The mechanics of novel writing is doing m
     
  14. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    I wound up with a lot of subplots in the story, partly because I had about 7 major characters, and 8 more that were important. And all 15 had a major or minor arc, and the forces on that character's arc formed a subplot of its own. The overall plot, Romans get to China against opposition, Romans get back to Rome against opposition, is the main plot, but without the subplots, that would have been boring as hell. Some of the subplots helped the Romans, some helped the opposition, some just stood on their own ... but it worked. Let the threads spool out, they make for an interesting and unpredictable story. Just remember to tie them all up before the end, no dangling threads.
     

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