This is a problem I’ve had every single time I tried to write a book. Got an idea, no scenes/events to flesh it out. Help?
What sometimes helps me is working backwards. It sounds strange, I know.
I may have a few scenes in my mind, which are often at the climax. I’ll think of what is necessary to build up to that, and how this can work as a scene. Who says you’ve got to write the story from start to finish? You could also write the chapters you already have figured out, and then the rest will follow
I’m still debating on the climax and ending though, so it will take me a bit.
Have you considered… Pantsing?
With Pantsing you skip the boring planning stage and go directly to the fun and exciting writing stage!
Pantsing; try it today.
But for real, maybe you just need to start writing and not overthink it too much?
Every other time I did that the furthest I got was chapter 4
Did you start planning from there then?
it sort of flopped and I combined it with another book idea now
This sometimes happens to me, but it more often happens with middle scenes in my work. I do discovery write pantser style with some vague idea of what some characters will deal with.
At the beginning, I know I’m usually going to write something that introduces characters and some temporary problem or goal (if not the main plot issue at that point).
At the end, I know I’m going to have to wrap up loose ends and show how the problems get sorted.
But in the middle, and even moreso on the middle bits of a subsequent draft (after there’s a sketchy first draft) I’m often asking myself: How do I make a scene that establishes this knowledge or motivation? How much time should I skip?
I suspect that I don’t easily identify the ‘obstacles’. I mean, plots in a typical formula have some main goal and then obstacles.
But my brain is more like: sit back and think about the most effective course in your mind and then go do it. So, there aren’t real physical obstacles, because those were planned around?? I mean, unless things are truly unforeseen actions of another force…
I might not be helping here.
I often don’t even use antagonists in my stories. There’s cause and effect, so I know there’s plot, but it’s more like people being their own enemies.
I’m not successful. I probably need help, as well.
It’s okay! Seeing other people’s approach to it helps as well
Create a mind map?
Though every author has their own unique way, say, create random scenes then put all of them together and put bridges between, boom, a story.
Or maybe like me, mix a little bit of both, create rough mind map but also create random scenes, another boom, another story.
Or sometimes you just have to chain yourself to the keyboard and promise yourself you won’t even pee until you finished writing a chapter.
I’ll try it, thanks for replying!
For me, I have to mull over an idea in my head for months before writing. I do research, listen to music that reminds me of the story, learn about the characters,
make a Pinterest board, etc. Doing this is how I come up with some of my favorite scenes.
Of course, this doesn’t help me come up with every scene. In the end, I have to just sit down and write it out. When I find I’m stuck, I ask myself, “What needs to happen for this story to move forward?”
Characters are in the parlour. No clue what should happen next.
Ask myself: What needs to happen for this story to progress?
Answer: They need to leave the parlour.
Okay, let’s have them take a walk. You know, they haven’t talked to [side character] in a while. Let’s have her show up. Oh, look at that, she’s just given us a new plot twist with information I didn’t realize she had.
And then there are times I just kill someone. No one major (usually), and it has to progress the plot or add to character growth. But it definitely gets me out of a rut.
Hey @FetchingPenumbra! Something that might help is if you get suuuper back to basics and start with an outline. Lay out all your big incidents (the climax, the result, etc.) and then you can filter in what happens in between, and how you get to those moments.
Doing this with your characters also helps - build out who they are, their personalities, their motivations, etc. That way when you’re developing your story arc, you’ll be able to insert your characters in a way that they naturally drive the plot forward
Buy a can from the grocery store, just add water. Add Indian spices to taste…
Oh I thought this was a cafe question.
Generally it depends on if you’re an outliner or a dreamer. I fall somewhere in between, so traditionally I might outline the ending, and dream up until that point. In which case I don’t worry about any hero’s framework, and just observe and take notes.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
As long as you get the book done All the other times I tried to start with no outline whatsoever my dreamer left me around chapter two xD
That’s what I’ll try to do with my current work. Thank you for replying, your comment really helps!
@FetchingPenumbra - Definitely make sure that you identify the major and minor character goals and major and minor story conflicts in each stage of the story, and then in each scene, no matter what technique you use (outlines, mindmaps, all good tools.) Goals & Conflicts drive the story.
Sometimes, I also use this list to brainstorm a scene. Try to figure out the:
Character’s Objective in the Scene:
Obstacle to that Objective:
(Note - Often times the character’s solution just makes things worse or gets them into a different sort of trouble until they finally figure it out at the end of the chapter, act, or story)
Ramification(s) of the Solution:
The New Dilemma: (Here’s where you can up the stakes)
The New Objective:
*** And then you use that to roll into the next scene and figure that part using the same list. ***
That’s very helpful, thank you!
Oh, great! I hope it helps!!