How to add plot without it feeling tacked on

  • 3 Replies
  • 88 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

*

Sheepy-Pie

  • Mistress of Death
  • Global Moderator
  • Master
  • *****
  • 1065
  • It lasted forever, And ended so soon.
    • View Profile
How to add plot without it feeling tacked on
« on: February 08, 2017, 05:54:35 PM »
So I've got my WIP that I did a draft for for Nano '16, it's currently at 50k. However to get it in a good place to be submitted to trad publishers I need to aim more for the 70-90k mark. Which is fine because I want more of my characters. My only problem is, how do I add on 20-30k worth of plot?!

I don't want it to be like it's tacked on. I want it to be fluid and make sense, but I feel like I am missing something. I've got key points, I've got characters moving into position for the ending.. but even if I chose the 'give x character lots to do' I'm not sure where I'd start.

Has anybody had to up the count a lot before? Any suggestions?

*

briari hallow

  • Guest
Re: How to add plot without it feeling tacked on
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2017, 10:23:47 AM »
So I'm currently also working on this for The Divine Catalysts (-coughs obnoxiously because I'm so stoked about using the Showcase to link to-). The goal is to add about 20k more to fluffl 60k-ish up to 80k-ish for the same reason.

As I edit, I'm mostly looking at places where it would make sense to add a bit more substance. I know that the beginning few chapters seem to take their time, and then the close of the book (the last half, really) happens rather rapidly.

The great thing about classic high-fantasy is that it's not unheard of for small "side-battles" to occur. In the Hobbit for instance, there are a lot of weird Tom Bombadil and murder-forest stuff going on, that the characters have to get through. While I don't condone frivolous side-quests, I know at least in my work there's area for a bit of side-tracking that will help build the characters and the world.

For instance, my world is very heavy on lore. I know that I'm reworking it so that the main "info dump" is not a dump, and while it was originally an entire chapter, it's now going to be interspersed throughout the entire book. So, there are chances for 500 word or so exchanges to help build up that knowledgebase for the readers, while keeping it fluid with the plot and movement of the story.

Eventually, I'm going to run out of areas to "fluff" because I don't want it to be a waste of time. However, there are scenes I can insert that stay concise with timeline, in that it helps establish a better sense of time for the reader. Both my main characters have a bit of inner monologue as part of their character points, so it'll be easy to add small things here and there.

I don't know if any of that was actually helpful. All I know is that there's always room for more storytelling. It might be a paragraph here and there, or a page here and two there, but it's nothing that exaggerates the plot much, except where needed.

I originally have a scene where the characters steal horses, which I think I can make later back-fire on them, creating a scene where they're caught with the horses by someone, or have to face another foe on the road.

If there is a lot of travel in your story, it wouldn't be unheard of to create small interactions like this on the road - they can shelter in a barn or something similar, can chit chat through the night. They can get caught stealing food, and have to talk their way out of that (or sneak their way out of that).

Overall, don't look at "How can I add 20k words?" Look at "Where can I elaborate in my story to immerse the reader more into my world?"

*

Sheepy-Pie

  • Mistress of Death
  • Global Moderator
  • Master
  • *****
  • 1065
  • It lasted forever, And ended so soon.
    • View Profile
Re: How to add plot without it feeling tacked on
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2017, 10:56:26 AM »
So I'm currently also working on this for The Divine Catalysts (-coughs obnoxiously because I'm so stoked about using the Showcase to link to-).
Go right ahead :D I don't mind!

I think what part of my problem is I want it to be complicated and wonderful. I have fate using my characters as chess pieces and slotting them into place. But they get to the town quite quickly and end up not doing tons. I'm definitely going to add more with my demons before they get there, but some of it is a waiting game.

I am currently trying to add little bits here and there but I worry it won't be enough. I'm probably worrying too much :P I just really want it to be this really cool awesome thing where I can show everybody how awesome my characters are and hopefully they'll love them too

*

briari hallow

  • Guest
Re: How to add plot without it feeling tacked on
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2017, 11:43:42 AM »
Oh I'm definitely the same way. I want people to look back and be like "I enjoyed each moment of that, it added to the characters and the world" and eventually "Wow, everything in each book was completely relevant later on." For this reason, I'm trying to use allusion via stories and conversations, or even irony and whatnot.

I get complimented decently that my supporting characters are all rather well-developed even when just seen shortly (not just a random troupe, but a real, bonafide individual) and I'm hoping to do this which each conversation and whatnot. It's hard and it'd definitely not going to happen, but I think having that as a goal will make it the best piece it can be.