Friday, March 5, 2010

Why the crap doesn't this WIP come with a map?

So I've got a good story idea, a great ending, an idea for two sequels, and about 30K words under my belt. The problem? I don't know what to do with the next 40K words. I know where I'm going, but I haven't figured out how to get there without boring myself and my reader. The first 30K words have kept up a pretty good pace, and I (hope) I've done a good job of dropping in bits of backstory without the info deluge we're all afraid of, but I don't know where to go from here. And since I'm the writer, no one else can really help me out.

The problem with stories is that logically thinking through what your characters would do next will only get you so far. Even in the admittedly dramatic and bizarre circumstances I've put them in, I think normal people would probably give up. And that would make for a pretty craptastic book. And more than that, I need things to happen to them to keep the story rolling. I've sat on it for a week now, mulling it over, and I've still got zip.

So I turn it over to you guys. What exercises/techniques do you use to inspire future plot points? How do you keep your stories from slagging in the middle?

Happy Friday!


laurel said...

I'm trying to rewrite a middle that's so crappy I had to throw it away pretty much whole cloth. Middles suck.

However, I am at last getting the hang of picking up threads from the beginning and pulling them along a little farther towards the end I envision. Look at some of your secondary characters--they often have potential to kick-start your plot by helping or hindering your MC in some way, or shaking up a subplot that's been hanging on the edges. Chances are you have the seeds in your beginning that need some sunlight to begin sprouting in the middle and come to full flower at the end.

JEM said...

That's excellent advice, laurel! I definitely have some secondary characters that will spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E, maybe it's time to bring their nastiness to the forefront :)

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

When I stall out, I look for another conflict or complication to throw at my characters. Ask, what's the worst thing that could happen right now? Then do that. :)

laurel said...

Hi again, JEM. Tag, you're it! (Come by my blog to see what I'm talking about.)

Lisa and Laura said...

Ah! The dreaded middle! Been there, done that. I think the trick is to mimic the three act structure that they use to write movie scripts. That always helps us keep things moving!