I’ve got to the point in my work in progress where my writing has caught up with my thoughts. I now need to figure out how to get from Point A (where I am now) to Point B (the next scene in the novel I have planned).
I hate it when this happens because I have the whole structure of the novel planned out and I know the outline of the plot as clear as today’s sky (which is super clear, FYI, like let’s go swim in the atmosphere clear.) So, it’s pretty annoying when the individual scenes are all murky.
To combat this misery I have come up with seven ways to help plot the details.
1. Talk it through
This is by far the best way for me to figure things out and surprise, surprise, Sasha is the glorious person who is on the receiving end of my waffling. She doesn’t even need to reply. I can just send her a bucket load of messages where I splurge all of my ideas or lack of them and as I do things start to come into focus.
2. Write it rough
If you don’t have a Sasha to talk at then befriend a piece of paper. Don’t stress about neatness or order just write down all of your ideas as they come to you. Even the rubbish ones! (Don’t ask me why) Once it’s all down you can go through with a fancy-ass coloured pen and highlight all the gems.
3. Skip the scene
When you’re really stuck and you just can’t be bothered to solve things then try skipping ahead to a scene you are sure about and write from there. You could even write the rest of the book from that point and then come back to your murky scenes when you’re done. That way you’ll know your characters an awful lot better.
4. Pass perspectives
What’s your supporting character/s doing at this point? How does what they are doing effect your main character? You don’t need to write their scenes (although by all means you can) Looking at things from another perspective widens your view and might just help fill in the gaps.
5. Map the moves
So you need to get from A to B? Let’s look at the logistics. What things absolutely need to happen for the story to make sense, for the characters to get from one point to the next. Figure out what the key points are and then build scenes around them.
6. Sit and stew
This is less depressing than it sounds. Sometimes I find I just need a break. So sit back and watch some TV or read a book or go skydiving, take a hike (don’t do that, hiking is horrible) climb a wall (choose wisely) or fly a kite. Either the story will stew in the back of your mind, working out the kinks or you’ll come back to it with fresh eyes.
7. Total Type Out
When I start a story I don’t plan at all. I sit down write a sentence and then another one and another one and I see where it takes me. Sometimes when I’ve ground to a halt I just need to write freely for a bit and discover where the story wants to go. Give it life, let it take control, be free! (Okay, enough with the dramatics)
So there you have it, seven techniques I use to help me fill in the details of my story when everything is a little blurry. They might work for you, they might not. Everyone is different. You might have your own awesome ways to combat the unknown. If you do, feel free to share in the comments!
Farewell for now…