I read some of my old novels and realized that I often filled them with unnecessary info and pseudojokes so I could quickly rejoin my favourite moments in the planned plot. I found those moments more interesting and I was looking forward to writing them.

Did you have similar problems? How did you solve that?

My novel is defacto crossover, where personages from the Cars movie, A Miss Mallard Mystery series, teddy bears, speaking car toys, and IRL people (including alter ego and some TV people) appear in one universe (it has combined both my fictional city and universe from other movies).

  • 1
    I manage this situation in my own writing by writing the moments I want to connect together into a plot into a disconnected state. This is not an answer. This is a failure report. I have a number of character files that are filled with interesting moments I've thought of and no way to connect them to anything. It might work to save them for some future tomorrow when their linkage will become clear... or it might not. I've long since reached the point where I'm not optimistic enough about these moments to necessarily write them down. (But that's my question for when I get to it.)
    – Ed Grimm
    Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 3:17
  • @EdGrimm When I think of a "moment" I write it down in a file I'm keeping of these and other ideas. But when I write a scene, it's holistic. I'll go back through the file later to make sure I didn't forget anything (if I still want it). I find if I don't write down my ideas (or the full scenes burning in my head), I can't focus on anything else in the story.
    – Cyn
    Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 15:23
  • I should probably state more clearly: recording moments is important, but I don't feel it's sufficient. At least I am missing something extra needed. Maybe it's that I need to save more of my moments than I've been able to. I hoped to find something here that would be that something extra. Your answer sounds like you might have it, but I'll need a different question, probably mine, to tease it out. But thank you for giving me some hope on this... and maybe some day I'll be able to get the student badge here. :)
    – Ed Grimm
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 2:45

2 Answers 2


You've got a plot planned out, you've got several scenes that you see vividly, you want to get them on paper, because they burn like a fire in your bones. Great. Now that you've done that, you must look at everything else.

There are two ways you can approach this: you can plot what happens between your already-written Scene A and Scene B, or you can discovery-write it.

Either way, here are some elements you would need to explore (not an exhaustive list):

  • Your overarching conflict: what preliminary conflicts would build it up? What challenges does the antagonist place in the protagonist's path? What are the antagonist's successes, showing his strength? What would help foreshadow the way the protagonist resolves the conflict?
  • Your characters: how do they interact? What conflict is there between them? How is friendship and trust between them built?
  • What lessons does your protagonist need to learn? Do you show them before they've learnt those lessons? How about in the process of learning?
  • What is missing between Scene A and Scene B? Who/what has changed, that you haven't really shown?

Now mix those elements up to create scenes: your protagonists face some challenge together, learning things about the world and about each other. You can add subplots that support your main arch.

For myself, when I'm stumped for ideas, I throw my characters into a situation, that is - I create some trouble for them, and see how they react, how they face the challenge, what they learn and how they grow. Since I already know the main themes I want to explore, I know what kind of "trouble" makes sense within the story's frame. (Then I cut away everything that isn't helpful.)

Be prepared to change what you have already written. Once you start to explore your story in more depth than you've done so far, you might discover that the already-written scene doesn't quite work - a character might act differently than you initially planned, or the scene would be occurring at a different point in the story, or you might have come up with a better solution to the problem the Scene was solving. That's a normal and essential part of writing.


Writing is like a dance.

I love ballet and modern and other dance forms but, way too often, it's all about the tricks.

  1. Triple pirouette.
  2. Step step.
  3. Leap high in the air.
  4. Step.
  5. Look! my leg is totally over my head!

For anyone who understands dance, we know it's really all about the transitions.

Quiet moments, dynamic moments, flow and rush and freeze and melt. All of these moments take great skill to execute well and are meaningful in themselves. They aren't just a means to get to the next trick.

Your novel is a series of tricks. The cool stuff you can't wait to write. You don't see the "in between" writing as important. But it is. If it really isn't, then cut it. But you still need transitions and breathing space and foundation in your novel. Otherwise it's just a bunch of disjoined bits no one will want to read because they don't mean anything.

I notice that you describe your novel by listing its stars. The "big name" influences and guests. But that can't be it. What's the story? What's the larger message or point or theme you want to convey? Are you writing because it's fun or because you have something to say?

If you still want to focus just on the "tricks" then maybe a novel isn't the right format for you right now. You might do better with comic book stories or short prose pieces (not that these ought to be about tricks, but you can get away with it more).

If you want to write a novel, get rid of all the characters and settings from other creators (you'd never be able to publish that anyway). Focus on the story. Move the plot along by getting into your characters' heads and understanding what they need. Why they do the things they do. Then show them doing it. And show the consequences.

With practice, you'll be able to flesh out your writing and not focus on highlights, on tricks.

  • 2
    The dance metaphor gives really cool insights.
    – Liquid
    Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 10:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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