1. TajBabii11

    TajBabii11 Member

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    Need Help Filling the Blanks

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by TajBabii11, Aug 17, 2017.

    Hey so, I'm feeling kinda stuck on what to do to fill in my chapters. My story is about a woman who's had her heart broken bad but she's falling for this guy. I've already given her scenes with the love interest, and her two best friends so far.

    Besides showing her at work (which I feel will get boring quickly), and more scenes with the other characters, how should I fill in the rest. I'm not saying help me write the story, I'm just asking you guys what you usually do to fill it all in? This question makes me feel like such a rookie, like I should know the answer ugh.

    Like I can picture how I want the story to go and I can see a lot of my important plot points down to the tiniest detail. But I just am stumped on how to fill in the stuff in between.


    Thanks in advance guys...
     
  2. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    It sounds like you have written the chapters where the important things are happening, and now feel that your story isn't long enough. Is that right? I'll proceed on that basis, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

    "Filling in" isn't really the right way to approach this. I sense you already know this, as you've correctly identified that just showing mundane activities like her going to work will become boring. And you're right.

    So, I have a question. If you read your current chapters in order, with nothing in between, do they flow and make sense? If so, then perhaps you have already finished this story. The point, after all, is for the important plot points to be made in a coherent way.

    If, however, the chapters don't flow well, then this shows that there is work to be done on linking them up. The intermediary chapters should follow on from the end of one, and lead up to the beginning of the next. So you would need to consider the situation your characters are in at the end of one chapter, and then think about what would need to happen to get them into the situation they find themselves in at the beginning of the next chapter. Whatever it is that needs to happen is what goes between the two chapters. Keep doing that until everything makes sense.

    If you do all that and still feel that your story is too short, then you need to rethink why this is. Perhaps you didn't plan your plot thoroughly enough, so haven't developed it to its full potential. Or perhaps you can elaborate throughout your writing, providing more detail and/or dialogue to expand on the situations while still keeping the reader interested. Or, perhaps, your plot is just suited to a shorter story and won't expand well into a longer one.
     
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  3. Trish

    Trish Damned if I do and damned if I don't Contributor

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    I understand what you're saying, but you don't really want to 'fill it in'. That implies that you're adding dead space (though I know that's not what you actually want to do). You need to think about the things that matter to the story - so, yes, work is boring, but it's not boring if she gets a text from the love interest in the middle of a meeting. Or if her ex shows up at her job at the same time the love interest comes to take her to lunch. Or if she misses a deadline because she can't stop rereading his texts/emails or daydreaming about him.

    Anything you put in should have a point for moving the plot forward.

    OT - I see you're in Wilmington - from a former Delawarian - :superhello:
     
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  4. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    DON'T!!!

    As in, don't "fill in the blanks" between the plot points. If you do that, you've got a very short book about a woman who falls for this guy and (presumably) ends up getting him; and this short book is included in the middle of a longer book with a lot of boring waffle. And that book's going into the shredder, because the reader will be soooo bored.

    Don't make it a story about a woman who gets a guy...if nothing else, it's a pretty antique view of what a woman's life is about. Make it a story about a woman who's ...trying to get on in a man's world, but the boss won't give her credit...and then she meets this guy, etc....so she's juggling Mr. Right with Job Right.

    And @mashers and @Trish beat me to it!
     
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  5. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    You take another story - and you interweave the stories. It gives you a new layer of sophistication...possibly. Choose a different perspective heading toward the same conclusion, or three or four different perspectives?
     
  6. TajBabii11

    TajBabii11 Member

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    @Shadowfax it's not completely about that, there's much more. She also is covering up a murder she did in the beginning of the story but that cover up doesn't start falling apart until much later when this guy sweeps her off her feet. I'm trying to slowly lead up to the chunk from where she ends up dating him; all my really good plot points will happen after that including the secret.


    @Trish that's actually a good idea, I'm gonna try those things. She already daydreams about him a lot but I'll try to add that into some work scenes. She already thinks about him a lot but I just don't want it to get boring, you know? And hello from a fellow Delawarean! What part were you from?


    @mashers I'm one of those folks that just write without a format. I do what my brain tells me and go with the flow. The flow is making sense, I'm just trying to move it along.
     
  7. Trish

    Trish Damned if I do and damned if I don't Contributor

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    @TajBabii11 I know what you mean, but it won't get boring as long as the distraction is causing problems for her in realistic ways.
    I was in Newark/New Castle mostly, though Dover and Smyrna for a little while too. And Bear. Mostly Newark/New Castle though.
     
  8. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    One of our regular contributors (@BayView ) has a saying that you should start your story as close to the end as possible.

    I can't help but feel that you're starting yours too soon. You'll have lots of good stuff; and then, halfway through, her murder cover-up and her romantic involvement will suddenly bring the story to life. But the reader will have given up because nothing interesting happened in the first three chapters!
     
  9. TajBabii11

    TajBabii11 Member

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    Well it starts right after she murders the person, and I complete that scene and after that you see her life a year later where she's covered it up and runs into the new guy. A rule I was told once was always start with action. I feel like I did that well, do you think a beginning like that is still too soon or too much?
     
  10. surrealscenes

    surrealscenes Senior Member

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    Or a body. I prefer that rule to say '...start with an action.'

    Is this a story to be read by people that go to work regularly? If so, having scenes at her job makes her relatable to the audience.
    There was recently a thread where it was similar, in that scenes were set in school locations. I essentially have the same outlook here. A workplace is where most people spend most of their days, they can relate. It really doesn't matter the job, we have all had them and know the routine.
    I say concentrate on the mundane, make the mundane special and it will help you all around.

    We can't say since we haven't read it. In general it is a good place to start, it leads to- why the killing? how did the killing happen? what will she do to get out of this? etc.
     
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  11. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    That's fine, there's nothing wrong in writing without a plan. Though I do wonder whether it might be beneficial to retrospectively draw out a plan of your current plot, as it might show areas you can develop further, or areas where you can add more. Or as others have said, you could add a sub-plot - though I would argue that this will be considerably more difficult if you don't plan ahead.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
  12. TajBabii11

    TajBabii11 Member

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    @surrealscenes You know the reason for the killing right off the bat but there's no detail right then and there. You learn gradually through little pieces of backstory and her whole reasoning for blowing the new guy off. And @mashers that subplot is sounding better and better, just gotta think of what.
     
  13. surrealscenes

    surrealscenes Senior Member

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    I should have been clearer.
    Many very successful writers say to start a book with 'the body'. At that point you have hooked the audience. Then a well crafted story will draw the reader in by revealing layers.
    I can say for me, if I open a book, find a body, and know why the person was killed, there is a good chance I won't read much further. There is a good chance that I won't agree with the reason for killing, or the timing of the kill, or will just figure it will devolve into 'just another one of these stories'. If it starts with a body, I then want to find all those answers and finding those answers in context may change my mind and I may gain some empathy for the MC.
     
  14. TajBabii11

    TajBabii11 Member

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    I think I see what you're saying. Like don't reveal the reasons for the person's death just yet, like give pieces of information slowly. Thanks. I can clearly see now some of what I need to do for draft 2.
     
  15. surrealscenes

    surrealscenes Senior Member

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    Yes, try that. Do you watch true crime shows? If you do; do you watch the ones where you know everything up front? Or do you watch the ones that play out like a real case plays out? When you watch a movie; do you want to know everything up front? Or do you want to try to figure it out at the same time as the MC?
    If you leave the details for later you open up what you can do down the line. Mis-directions, red herrings, much more conflict since the other characters don't really know either.
    These are basic human needs/wants as an audience.
    If you were to folow a story about a dog sled race-
    Do you want to read about the person that started first and ended first without losing the lead?
    or
    Do you want to read, starting on the second day of the race, the person that wakes and finds 2 of their dogs feet have been cut off, and now they need to figure out who did this and how they are going to win the race, while being frightened, competing with 2 less dogs and (because they are the hero) they now have the added weight of 2 dead dogs to carry as well?

    A bit off topic- do a search for Lester Dent Pulp Formula. It is the main thing my mind goes to when coming up with a story. It is bound to help, even if not for this story (although it probably will).
     
  16. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    I've recently read a romance book by @BayView . The MC is sent to a very rural mountain town by the state's Governor to investigate complaints about conflicts between the local police department and Federal agencies. She meets her love interest (he rescues her when she wrecks her car at the start of the book) who is a member of a local family that is being investigated for everything from drugs to murder. The story of their romance is interwoven with the story of the law enforcement investigation. Its very nicely written and is a great demonstration of what you are looking to do in your story.
    The book is Shadow Valley by Kate Sherwood.
     
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  17. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    If there's no plot in that part of the timeline, why not just get there quickly?
     
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  18. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    It's probably important to distinguish between writing a romance or a mystery or an action novel.... it's not totally clear to me which you're working on.

    Of course you can have mystery and action in a romance, just like you can have romance in a mystery or action novel, but in terms of the structure of the piece it's good to know which you're focusing on. The main element will tell you where to start (like, if it's a romance, start very close to the point where your leads meet) and then the other elements are subplots to be woven in with the others. Being confident of the main story will also help you know where to end the book, which can be as much of an issue as figuring out where to start.

    This may already be clear to you, but it's not clear to me, and it's hard to offer advice without knowing.
     
  19. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    The mundane doesn't have to be boring. I don't really understand writing in stuff that isn't part of the story. You're not writing a character description; you're writing a story.
     
  20. TajBabii11

    TajBabii11 Member

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    @BayView and @Stormburn what youre saying makes sense. As far as a focused genre, youre helping me to understand that I really didn't have a distinguished one and that's a no no. I recall times when I'd be asked what genre it is and I remember not being able to not clearly tell them. But now that I realmy stop to think about it, the romance aspect is gonna take over more. The murder is more like an underlying thing, like the subplot. Didn't even realized I'd done that. I already know how I want it to end and it's quite a doozy, but now I know how to better fine tune it. So thanks.
     

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