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Not quite writer's block, but...

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by TheCrystallineEntity, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. I'm about 2/5ths through my story, and I'm roughly on Part 3. There's a huge gap in between Part 3 and 5, and I'm not sure what happens next. I don't want it to just be filler until the climax, after all, but I'm having trouble coming up with things for my main character to do. She's inside a book that contains all of her guardian spirit's memories, from childhood to when they became a spirit, and isn't let out until the end of the story. She's met her guardian spirit as a child, and her guardian spirit's parents, but I'm stumped as to what comes next.

    Any suggestions? I'm sorry for being so vague.
  2. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

    So when she's inside the book she's seeing the guardian spirit's life? I would just write it like she's observing. Focus on the guardian spirit until your main character finally has something to do. If you write it like she's got an omniscient presence within this telling of this other character's life, having her do something within inside the book may not be necessary.
  3. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    Conflict + Story. Talk to your characters and try to figure out what they want, what drives them. Then don't let them have it.

    Also, do you write with music? I find sometimes when I get stuck-ish that what I need is to change things up, look for new music or maybe old music, something that either drives me or fits the mood of the scene. For the last 7 chapters of our Faerie Rising I listened to the Deadpool soundtrack on loop. Wrote the entire ending in a week. Why did this work? I have no idea. It might be that I like the storytelling in the movie, or I just really like Salt n' Peppa. lol
  4. ^I try not to multitask; I work best when I'm focusing on one thing.

    Also, her guardian spirit as a child is extremely powerful, even on reality warper levels, which is why they [genderless] and their parents are isolated away from everyone else. I could have some potential conflict over that.
    The entire story [barring the prologue and epilogue] take place within the memory book.
    Also, the main character can interact with [I might as well just say the characters' names]...
    Back up: the main character, Kai, can interact with her guardian spirit-as-a-child, Aleta, because the two of them are twins [i just discovered that yesterday], and because Aleta's powers are bending both of their memories.
    It makes more sense in reading it, unfortunately. Thank you for the suggestions; it's given me some ideas!
  5. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    Jumping off what A.E. said, not having something for your character to do to me is a sure sign there's not enough conflict.

    For example, a kid in a schoolyard playing. They're happy. They get along with everyone. Laughter all around. What next? *shrug* Bully kicks them in the shins. Now what? Now there are choices to be made and consequences/stakes to making those choices.

    Conflict and choices made while facing those conflicts is what a story is. Without that, all you have is a pretty vignette that may invoke an emotion or two, but most likely isn't a story.

    Character's have nothing to do, drop a boulder into the calm, idyllic pond of their lives and see how they deal with the chaotic waters created.
  6. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

    Ok...quoting quotes is weird now that you have to highlight but I digress.

    I actually watched a really good video by Ellen Brock on the middle part of novels on her youtube channel. Came across it by accident and I'm too lazy to look it up. But maybe you can, Crystal.

    In this video, she states (and I agree) many times what's going on is new writers fall short of story in the middle because they've resolved the story conflict too soon. This is what it sounds like with you. First though, some questions:

    -what is your story goal?
    -what is your MC's goal?
    -what or who is opposing your MC from achieving their story goal? Think antagonistic force here.

    Now, Ellen also mentioned that the way to resolve this problem of running out of story is to simply start the character with one goal (like a personal goal) and bring the story goal (the bigger goal) in second. Let me give you an example from my WIP because it's easiest for me to explain:

    -Heroine starts out needing a job so that she can stop depending on her daddy's money for financial support. She lies on her resume to get a job at a restaurant where her friend works. This creates conflict between her and the hero (her antagonist/love interest) because he can easily tell she's inexperienced at the job he's supposed to train her for. He outs her via a confrontation and they become enemies. Well, for now...

    Goal #1: make money from a job.

    Because her job is threatened, she goes out of her way to strike a bargain for his silence. He's more annoyed than anything and isn't really looking to get her fired, just out of his way. Via some things happening in the subplot, she gets another position in the restaurant as a lounge singer. He realizes how much of a jerk he's been once he hears her voice and starts liking her but she puts him off.

    Goal #2: Keep away from that pesky boy she hates that seems to now have a crush on her. This, right here, is her actual story goal. I bring the start of it in chapter 3, but it isn't resolved until the very end of the story when they end up together. So she's conflicted through the plot by her feelings for him and the fact that she's supposed to hate him because he was mean to her (like, really really mean right in chapter 1).

    So what you have here is, we start with one goal...which is a personal character goal...and shift/bring in the story goal a couple chapters in later, intertwine the two and let it carry you to the end. I hope this makes sense. Good luck!
  7. ^Thank you very much!

    What is your story goal?
    To both conclude and continue the story I told in Hollowed, while also making it easy to read as a stand-alone. Also, to teach people about my views about life, the universe, and everything. [But, then, the last one is 'part and parcel' for all of my books, not just this one.]

    What is your MC's goal?
    I guess Kai's goal would be helping Aleta to become a guardian spirit to preserve the "stable time loop" of sorts.

    What or who is opposing your MC from achieving their story goal?
    So far, nothing is really opposing her...[it's an unspoken rule that there are no villains in my books.] However...perhaps Aleta's parents would try to oppose Kai's goal, from fear that Aleta would become basically god-like...
    Hmm...that could work. :cool:
  8. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team


    Your story goal isn't really a story goal. By story goal I mean a premise. That's usually related to genre. Since you're writing high fantasy, it's likely related to the character overcoming something. For example, destroying the dark lord would be a story goal. Teaching readers your views on life is not a story goal. At least not one that's going to help you get out of this jam.

    Far as antagonists go, expect to remain stuck if you have no antagonistic force. The antagonist or opposing force doesn't need to be a person, it can be anything that keeps the characters(s) from reaching their goals too easily. Story is about growth. Time + conflict= growth/change. Without conflict, your characters will not grow and your story will not be moving forward.
  9. ^Oh, now I get it. Thanks. I'm pretty new to this sort of thing; up until I joined this forum, I was completely alone in my writing adventure, and didn't know many terms.

    Technically speaking Kai is stuck in the book until the end of the story, and the only thing that will get her out is Aleta's transformation into a guardian spirit. There is, of course, a sticking point: such drastic ascension generally only happens in the Songsphere through a an unconditional act of love. I already know how the story ends, but I'm not sure whether to have the characters aware of what must happen or not.
    So many complications.
    I think I know what I'm doing now, though. :happy:
  10. Helen

    Helen Inkling

    The answer is vague too, but it works: outline it or just write random scenes until you can see your way through it.

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