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Plotter's Block and Synopsis Revisions (1 Viewer)

sunaynaprasad

WF Veterans
For my current WIP, I am doing synopses before I write any actual drafts. That way, I can hopefully be finished with it sooner. In the past, I had probably written hundreds of drafts for years as my writing skills were still maturing. But I think I've come along since.
Anyway, plotting is no easy task for this WIP. I have ideas of the basic plot and other events in the story. But I just finished a synopsis where the beginning was strong, but everything after the midpoint was weak. I used to outline using chapter-by-chapter summaries. I could still do that later, once I know my story well.
If anyone wants to know, this story is the 4th installment of my book series (the first 3 are published), and it's a children's fantasy. I wrote the first draft a while ago, but my approach differs from others. I have to keep the story simplistic and the wordcount small. Otherwise, I get writer's block and give up.
Anyway, what would you do if you had a strong beginning for a plot, but struggled to keep it strong throughout? I know that I can revise the synopsis after a brief break or so. However, if that doesn't work, what else could? Thanks.
 

Steve_Rivers

Senior Member
I think I remember Quentin Tarantino saying something like "start strong, finish strong, then the middle is there for you to play with."
So if you're feeling the ending is weak, Sunayna, maybe you need to take a step back and hold off until you get an ending thought up first that you are happy with, even if it means scrapping the middle.

I took words like that to heart, I tend to start a story and see where the characters are, and then think where I want them to end up that shifts them or makes them change in some way with the most dramatic effect, be it characterization/situation or otherwise. Then I try and link the start to the end to add in all the drama. That way I always know I have a strong start and a strong finish.

You're in the enviable position of being far into a series, so you know where the start is, obviously heh. The best advice I can think up is to write a bullet list of leftfield ideas that change the characters in some way, then see which seems the most inkeeping with your story and provide potential for the best adventure.

Sorry I cant come up with anything more specific.
(And might I add, well done on all those hundreds of positive reviews, Sunayna! A lot of people clearly get a lot of enjoyment out of your books! I'm envious. :) )
 
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autumnst

Senior Member
I agree with Steve Rivers' post above, absolutely, start and end with a bang and find a good way to tie the two together in the middle.

One idea I'd like to add, if I may, is maybe take a look at some of the popular outlining methods covered on writing sites and videos. There's the Save the Cat beat sheet, there's Dan Harmon's story circle, the Snowflake method, the Hero's Journey, and on and on. Could one of these possibly be helpful for you? Maybe they can pinpoint areas of weakness or strength? (I'm assuming here that you're not using any of these for your work, but if I'm wrong, please ignore the suggestion.)

On the other hand, issues with getting the story moving past the beginning scenes might simply mean that your premise isn't strong enough. For a book-length work, you need an idea big enough and with enough built-in complexity (if that makes sense) to carry for many pages. When troubleshooting the outline doesn't work, maybe go back to absolute basics and see if there's anything to improve and build upon there?

Or... ditch the outline! And the synopsis! Pants your way through it, discover where your story is going by having it lead you to unexpected places. You have your own methods and ways you write, and clearly they've worked out wonderfully to your success, but sometimes it can be helpful to shake things up and try something completely different.

Just a thought.
 

Darkkin

WF Veterans
Don't overthink the planning. Start a situation with your characters and do a cold open. See where it goes, from personal experience this works way better for me than any stiff-rumped outline ever could. By doing, I learn more about my characters and my story.
 
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