I've written stories like this...we probably all have. I hit a point in my book where I wondered why I started the story in the first place. My problem was that I didn't think of my book as a series of scenes, and that was a structure issue that lead to more problems down the road.
Because I am a total computer nerd, I sought help from other blogs about writing. There are some great resources out there to help with story structure and pacing. Its important to find the one that fits with your style and method of writing.
My favorite approach is found at Randy Ingermanson's Advanced Fiction Writing website. In it, he describes the basic structure of a scene and its purpose. I will try to paraphrase it below, but I urge to check out his website for a more detailed explanation.
Easy right? Well the beads, or scenes, have to have structure in themselves.
The plot-pusher bead has three parts:
- There has to be a reason for your character to be in the scene - a conversation, action sequence, internal monologue, etc.
- Something that goes wrong or gets in the way of what they wanted to accomplish in the scene - get information, compel someone into action, stop a disaster, etc.
- The outcome - disaster, disappointment, confusion, danger, etc. This propels the character into the next scene as they react to what just occured.
- Your character changes because of what just happened - either their thinking, their goal, their motivation, etc.
- A new conflict shows up - how do they deal with what just happened or learned?
- They form a plan and act on it - this leads them to the next scene and provides you with a cliff hanger or hook into your next chapter.
What about you? How do you structure your book? Do you have an outcome in your head and work backwards? Are you more of a 'see where it goes' type of person? How do you keep your story on track?
Oh! And don't forget to read the great entries for the Character Interview Contest tomorrow at Echoes of a Wayward Mind. Great idea, Sangu!
Until next time, my friends, Go Write!
Photograph by mshades. Photograph by horiavarlan. Photograph by sk_vel.