Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The space between

One challenge I've always faced writing novels is knowing what to do with the space in between plot points.  For example when you've hit Plot Point A and know you now need to get to Plot Point B but there's no roadmap to get you there.

Sure, sometimes you strike gold and the novel progresses at one certain point to another with relative ease (for me especially if I have an idea of what I want to hit in the middle). But more often than not I go through this elation of reaching a specific place, the joy of writing a scene that's been bubbling in my mind for weeks (or much longer) only to be followed by a " what?"

I know where I want to go from here but I also know there needs to be some space between.  It's a pacing thing right?  This is where I try to use my instinct. I have a feeling of how much writing needs to pass between A and B.  At the same time, not knowing what this writing will be has before caused me to ramble on and veer down roads that lead me anywhere but where I want to go.

True, sometimes this is where the magic of writing happens, where an unexpected turn helps me figure out things I wasn't sure about or add in an aspect when something had been missing.

On the other hand, if the veering and the rambling doesn't pan out I end up making the space between A and B or B and C (or whatever) much longer than I want it to be and often it's filled with "stuff" that isn't driving the story.

I'm about to approach "a space between" very shortly.  It's making me a tad worried actually because up until now I've been on quite the roll.  So here's my question to you ROWers: How do you manage the space between?  Do you have any tactics?  Any suggestions?

I know we all have different writing process and some of us write such detailed outlines that we don't have "space" to deal with.  Me, on the other hand, I like to write fairly loose outlines because I have better luck getting the story to show itself to me this way (if that makes any sense).  The downside of this of course is that I think it takes me longer to write a novel than it would for authors who know exactly where they're going all the time.  But that's my process *shrugs. And I believe writers need to do things differently.  Different means specific to you and without that you're taking away any hope of originality.  Do you think?

As far as my ROW80 goals go — I'm still on track for this week (kind of).  I need to bang out 2,000 words before the end of the day today, which is shortened by the fact I have visitors coming.

Then on Friday I fly to Vancouver so will definitely be on a writing hiatus — perhaps won't even have time to check-in.  But such is life.

And if there's one thing I feel, it's that you've got to be grateful for it.  Truly, everyday I focus on gratitude I just feel it in my bones more and more.

I thought what I would do today is leave everyone with this video.  I'm a bit into Oprah, so sorry if this ain't your thing.  Also, I couldn't get the video to embed properly because of the size of my blog page, so if you want to see the video in full screen, click here.

I've posted this because, as far as us writers go, I think we're in the business of dreaming big.  So it's on that note, I leave you this:


6 Lessons Oprah Learned from the World's Biggest Dreamers
They set their goals high and now live the lives they dreamed about. Find out the greatest lessons Oprah learned from Ted Turner, Laird Hamilton, Pastor Joel Osteen, Iyanla Vanzant, Jennifer Hudson and Paula Deen.


  1. I think everyone has their own writing style, so what if you don't have everything planned out - I generally have my main points planned and fill in the gaps like you. How do I do that? No idea. I sometimes struggle and write rubbish, but it's fine, cause it can be edited later!
    Enjoy your break!

    1. Thanks very much newtowritinggirl! You're right, those are the parts that can be fixed during the editing process. Hindsight is 20/20! Good luck with your goals this week!

  2. I've been writing through the gap I'm currently in by doing a short plotline for each character, where they deal with the consequences of the last big event.

    I'm not sure how much this does for the pacing of the major plot points, but it does help me feel as though things are still happening in the story in the meantime.

    1. That's a great suggestion. Perhaps I'll look into how I can do this when I get through this section of my WIP. Have a great week!

  3. I'm an outliner, but I still struggle with what happens between. I just have to deal with it sooner. One thing I've found that helps is asking myself what are 20 things that could happen at this point? I write down everything, from the bland and ordinary to the ridiculous, but by the time I hit #20, something good almost always shows up. Good luck!