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As stated in previous questions, I am still in the Skeleton Stage of planning. I have a fairly developed first few chapter as well as a few key scenes much further along in the book (not that I'm going to use all of them but they're there). I also have a very vague and undetailed ending to the book, somewhere that I am aiming to get to but not a tangible or formed idea.
How do I fill in the points from A to B and how do I make the ending a more detailed idea? I don't know how much of my vague ideas I'm going to keep as I haven't found a secure/working way to weave them into the plot.

Examples

  • First few chapter orientate around the Protagonist's life in village (post-apocalypse).
  • Shifting Point happens when she meets an adult who warns her that the corrupt government is coming to raid the village (reasons too long to explain, I'm shortening the plot a bit). The Protagonist, her siblings and the adult decide to head for a growing rebellion.
  • (Huge gap) The adult decided and manages to betray them to the corrupt government which he was origionally a part of; she escapes but her siblings are caught.
  • (Again a HUUUGE gap) He feels guilt for his actions (again for reasons that take too long to explain) and works with protagonist to rescue her family.

You can see my problem. I get that in bullet point form it sounds kind of lame but just ignore that. I don't necessarily need solutions to the exact problems listed above, (although if you have one given the limited information, I'd still appreciate it) simply tips on how I can think of ways to fill in the gaps myself.

How do I know which ideas work with the vague story line? How do I know if I should cut them? How do I make the link from A to B when there is nothing in between? The examples above are only detailing the first part of the book - I haven't decided how long those bullet points will take to write but there is a whole load more of ideas and, of course, gaps that I need to try and figure out.

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How do I know which ideas work with the vague story line? How do I know if I should cut them? How do I make the link from A to B when there is nothing in between?

Outline

I think the most basic approach is to write an outline.

  1. Add the BIG PLOT™ bullet-points that you know
  2. Tentatively, add the bullet-points that you want, more or less where you think they should be
  3. Fill in the steps that are missing (draw the rest of the owl)
  4. Use place-holder bullet-points where you aren't sure what happens but you know what needs to happen
  5. DO NOT MARK EMPTY TIME. Each entry on the outline is an action, a plot beat (conflict), or a character turn (no "5 chapters hanging out in the village" that's a place-holder that needs to be filled in)

This is an exercise in organizing your thoughts. Your outline is only as 'permanent' as you make it. You're not committed to what you put in an outline. Move it around, throw scenes out. Massage it until there are no big gaps.

The expectation is you unconsciously know more about your story than you realize, and writing down the important events in order helps to organize your story's flow and plot. It will emphasize the obvious story gaps, but beware of over-simplifying the parts you think you know. Break the 'good' parts down into outline beats too because they often absorb the gaps (you realize there's a more direct or easier way to work the plot that already exists).

Snowflake Method

My loose interpretation of the Snowflake Method is that you start with a 10,000 mile view of the story – something that can be summarized in 1 sentence – and you build up the story one sentence at a time by adding the important details.

One sentence becomes a paragraph. One paragraph becomes several..., and so on – theoretically until the whole thing is done, but for your purpose you're trying to create a story synopsis or a 'treatment' with all the important scenes and plot beats, written in prose.

  • A man helps villagers escape into the mountains.
  • A conflicted soldier wants to help a girl save her village by escaping into the mountains.
  • A soldier is wounded and discovered by a girl whose village he was sent to destroy. Conflicted, he decides instead to help her village escape into the mountains. But he changes his mind when more soldiers show up....

The goal here is similar to Outline – it's a simple version of the whole story, but with a Snowflake synopsis it should read like a coherent story, with character arcs and themes. (Lacking in tone and description.)

Editing your synopsis might function as a first draft. It should 'self-create' the structure, characters, conflicts, and theme – or reveal where those problems are.

Character arc

IMHO, It sounds like you have a pivotal character who is struggling (back and forth) with his moral compass.

This character is making the plot happen, and he is the (only) connection between the Protag and her Big Enemy.

Frame Challenge: This guy is your main character.

Since his internal conflict is the thing driving the plot, his motivations are what's important. Figure out the missing beats in his character arc, and adjust the plot to fit.

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