5

Background

I've now reached 10,000 words on the second book in my trilogy. Wow, goals. I have just got to the first major plot point which basically spells out the relationship between two characters which will drastically effect the plot of book two. However, what did I spend this 10,000 words messing around on?

I decided that considering loads of new characters are being introduced in book two I would try and implement more interactions between characters early on and spell out the themes that would be going on later in the novel. Hence, most of these 10,000 words is the characters faffing around, talking and generally preparing or recuperating from something that has happened. For example, three characters have been arguing about might and praising the King's might. The guy praising the King's might gets called a coward for relying on the King entirely, and then there is a ton of incorrect blather that he spouts from his mouth. The other character then foreshadows something that will happen next chapter that is in their POV, by saying something like "Prove your not a coward by showing your might to (unnamed)". I've forgotten exactly what it was, it foreshadows though.

Question

The major plot point in book 2 has not been yet established by book two. It probably won't be fully established until a while later after I've 'set things up' so it all runs smoothly.

Is it okay to introduce your major plot point late?

  • 4
    Relax. Get the book written, and then re-read and talk to your editor about how much faffing can be eliminated. You're too early in the process to be counting words and sweating ratios. – Lauren Ipsum Jan 11 '17 at 19:34
  • Can you be more specific? What do you call a "major plot point"? – Lew Jan 11 '17 at 20:46
  • I like to think a 'major plot point' is where the plot changes direction or something important gets established/happens @Lew – Daniel Cann Jan 12 '17 at 5:41
  • 1
    In order to change direction, you have to have it first. You cannot change anything in a first few chapters, you can only set it. Then it is all up to you. The biggest plot twists in the mystery genre tend to happen toward the end of the book. – Lew Jan 12 '17 at 10:29
  • (a) What was the plot of "War and Peace"? (b) Was it established in the first few chapters? – user23046 May 3 '17 at 1:48
6

I beg to dissent with other answers here so far. Yes, everything will become clear only after the book draft is finished, but the important question is when the draft would be finished. It would be pity to see 10,000 words go to waste, so it's quite a valid question to check if you are on a right track.

In my opinion, it's all right to spend 10,000 words to set up the stage - but only if the stage looks intriguing enough to the reader. For example, your new characters may be doing nothing, but reader may already see looming conflicts and anticipate plot developments.

Also, this is all good only if you don't have any cliffhangers from book 1 that begged for action. In such case a reader would be eager to see plot development rather than "faffing".

4

Look ... I'm going to second most of what smoss321 said. Write the book. Don't worry about this stuff until revisions. That's what's most important.

That being said, it sounds (since you're asking about plot points) you could use some macro perspective. You mentioned you are writing a trilogy. Trilogies are, by definition, a single story broken into three episodes ... but it is a single story. So, you're in the process of writing the "middle" of the story (and, as we all know, the middles are often the most difficult).

There are a few things from your post which would concern me, if the book was finished. Loads of characters appearing at the beginning of book two sends up a red flag (of course, without knowing more about why, it's difficult to speculate). Mostly (from what little information we have), loads of characters makes me think you aren't beginning book two where book one left off (unless, of course, you killed off all the characters in book one). This is doubly true when combined with a ton of blather and faffing about. This makes me believe even you are seeing there is too much "fluff" in the beginning of your story.

Now, if, by plot point, you are referring to those pesky moments in an outline story structure advocates discuss (I'm one of those, by the way) ... assuming the wordcount goal for your novel is the standard 100,000 words, then by 10,000 words you should have the plot's Hook firmly established. ("You're a wizard, Harry." or "I volunteer as tribute!").

But these things ... these plot points ... they're locations in your story are just guidelines. 10% for your hook doesn't mean it needs to be precisely at the 10,000 work mark.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: Don't worry about this stuff right now. Unless you are an in-depth and intense outliner (which I am), write the draft and take care of these kinds of revisions later (which I also do). It will cost you nothing but time to allow your character to do what they want during this first drafting experience, so long as you go back through when its finished and cull the unnecessary during revisions.

  • 1
    Ah, well, a huge amount of characters died at the end of book 1 and book 2 starts about a day after the end of book 1. 3 new characters are introduced, 2 later being added, and at 10,000 words I'm utilising a similar technique to book 1 where I complicate things a while after the book starts – Daniel Cann Jan 13 '17 at 5:41
3

There are no rules in writing. Full stop. There is nothing that you need to do or need not do at any point of your work unless you feel that it is necessary.

Getting published is a slightly different story, but this is a question about writing.

Write how you want, when you want, and cause the elements of your work to develop solely as you see fit.

So long as you are writing then you are succeeding.

Most (I would say all) of the truly great writing is the world is found in works that bend, break, and flaunt the common rules of writing.

If you write how you desire you will not always succeed, but when you do succeed you will do so wildly.

TL;DR: No.

1

I must agree with @Alexander: one should worry about major plot points, and minor ones too, since the beginning. (Unless you're a radical pantser and embrace remaking your first draft completely.)

That having been said, I think it completely appropriate for the major plot point to reveal itself late on, however that means (for me) that either the first book (if it's a trilogy) or the first part of the book was mostly about a major subplot that set the stage for the main plot.

As an example, imagine one wants to write about the love story between A and B. Only that love story is going to be driven to a tragic conclusion because A was first involved with Z. Therefore, I start with Z and A getting together and treat that as if it were the main plot. Problems between Z and A slowly pop up and, as they both try to work them out, B enters the stage and puts an end to the first relationship. Now the real love story can take off and soar into tragedy while the readers can easily see how Z is behind it all.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.