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  1. #1
    junel ;-)

    How to fill in the missing gaps of a story?

    How to fill in the missing gaps of a story?

    I have the core story of my WIP. I know the beginning, middle and end, and most of the key events/scenes within the story.

    But I need to connect them all together. Sometimes A goes to E, missing B,C and D.

    Anyone use any techniques for this?

    A timeline for the story or major individual characters is quite limiting Iíve found.

    I find a spider diagram (linking all the major events and characters) works well, until it becomes so big that it is incomprehensible and unmanageable.

    In the past, I have written the milestones of the plot on paper, cut them into to strips, and placed them in order on the floor. So then I can see the gaps in my story, rearrange the strips for fresh perspective or to have a smoother narrative. And it simply becomes a case of connecting the dots and filling in the gaps. This works well.

    But I am interested to hear of any other techniques that people may adopt?

  2. #2
    Gary Kessler

    Re: How to fill in the missing gaps of a story?

    I just throw notes on a sheet of paper as I go along--names spellings and the like--and let my mind keep everything else organized.

  3. #3
    . Castleman

    Re: How to fill in the missing gaps of a story?

    I am very novice myself. I started out with a 30 page chapter outline for my novel, and then found out, like Gary had told me it may, that it was overkill. Then I read Stephen King's idea on this: he doesn't get too much into outlines. He says if you have great characters and a great "story" idea , let the character take you where he / she wants to take you--it will come off being less mechanical that way. I noticed that after I wrote five chapters, the characters did things that I needed to go back and add a little earlier on. that will probably be the same for you too.

  4. #4
    Rogue Mutt

    Re: How to fill in the missing gaps of a story?

    I know my mind couldn't keep everything organized; I have to make sure to keep my keys in the same place or I'd never be able to find them. That said, I write a rough description of the story before I go into it. I allow myself to change things when I see opportunities so it's never "mechanical."

    If you already know the beginning, middle, and end then you're going to have to figure out how to put them together at some point. Probably the best idea is just to take some time and think "why/how does this happen?" For instance if you were writing "Star Wars" you might have decided there's a boy on an isolated desert world, he rescues a princess, and blows up the evil Empire's space station. But then you're left with all the how's and why's in between. So you'd probably want to start figuring out how to get from point A to point B. How does the boy on the isolated world rescue the princess? To find that out you have to decide where the princess is, who's keep her captive, why they're keeping her captive and then after you decide on all that, how does he find her, who helps him, how does he get her out, where do they go? See, there's a million little decisions involved. A lot of them you can probably do unconsciously, but sometimes you might need to just stop and ask yourself these questions.

    Did any of that make sense?

  5. #5
    Josh Lemay

    Re: How to fill in the missing gaps of a story?

    I do a mix of what Castleman and Rogue Mutt do.

    I come up with a fairly basic idea first. I'll write it all down without worrying much about it and make a synopsis of the general idea I want the story to take.

    After that, I start writing it. Usually the beginning and the end remain similar, but the middle can differ a lot. As I'm writing, if I still like the ideas I had before, then I'll write them eventually. If I find they may not work, or may not work as I first thought, I'll take them out or change them. I usually add in a lot more that I hadn't thought about in the beginning, too.

    When I'm done, I'll make a list of plot holes or points I should add in, fix, or change. Then I fit those in where they should go.

  6. #6
    Lea Zalas

    Re: How to fill in the missing gaps of a story?

    I put it all down as it gets envisioned in my mind. I started my book at a middle scene and when I finally sat down to write the beginning it just flowed out. Always surprises me and I have asked myself on many occasions - where the heck did THAT come from? I would never have thought my book started like the way it does until I saw it on the screen. :O

  7. #7
    Robert Wilson

    Re: How to fill in the missing gaps of a story?

    I use handwritten 4x6 note cards. One for each chapter.


  8. #8
    junel ;-)

    Re: How to fill in the missing gaps of a story?

    Yes Rogue, it makes sense and thanks.

    You have inadvertently helped with my techniques to writing.. or directly i think.. not sure.

    I will try asking myself a list of prepared questions for the character/plot and see where that leads me (hopefully it should lead to filling in the missing gaps, thats the plan anyway). Questions such as [i]why is the character there? what is he/she after? etc.

    The difficulty I am having with my WIP is it well out of my comfort zone. I prefer to write purely fictional stuff where I am the creator. But this is set purely in the real world and uses well-known organisations such as the police force, and is set against the backdrop of real events. So sometimes i think I've linked elements of the story together well, but then it falls flat on it's face on believability when referenced to the real organisations and events. Still it all part of the learning process I guess. Just have to keep persevering.

  9. #9
    Chuck Shaw

    Re: How to fill in the missing gaps of a story?

    Both of the books I am playing with started as a situation, into which I dumped characters to sink or swim. What they do is their problem, not mine. I just try to clean up the story of their actions, interactions and occasional mayhem.

    In both manuscripts the characters have worked out solutions that invalidated the expected resolution. Minor characters have tried, and in one case succeeded, in stealing the book to the point a re-write around a new primary protagonist was required.

    Writing is fun. Cleaning up the mess these wackoes can make out of a perfectly good story line, and then trying to hammer it into marketable shape without suffocating the characters, that a beast!

    Now if they'd just let at least one of my personalities out on weekends.....


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