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No Filler Plot

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Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:58 pm
fading-dream says...

Lately, I've been working on a novel I'd love to get published. It is currently 15,000 words and developing quickly. Events are happening at the right word count (surprisingly) and I quite like it. However, lately I've been wondering if perhaps the speed of the plot is too fast. So far, there have been no filler scenes; it's just one plot point to the next. Now, this doesn't mean there aren't character moments, but a ton of events happen in the first part of the story. From this point on, there is no slow down either. Perhaps why I feel the plot is too fast is because I'm essentially cramming what could be an entire series into one book though it doesn't feel like I'm rushing things.

My question is is there a problem with "breakneck" speed in a novel? Do people tend to not be interested when a lot is happening? This could also be connected to pacing, if anyone cares to input on that.
Current Project: Otherworld (Novel) - 11,000 words so far
Latest Story: Overflowing Emotions.
Past stories: Burning Apart, The Beast, Binding Darkness - Ch. 1, What David Taught Me, The Banquette, Mirror of Memories, Leaving Humanity, Little Green Men, Six Days

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Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:11 pm
Rosendorn says...

This article pretty much sums it up.

They key point in relation to your questions:

A breakneck pace can leave readers feeling like they don't have time to absorb everything going on. Therefore, they lose interest because there's no time to sit and figure out what in the world is going on.

However, this may or may not apply to your novel. You say you have character moments, and depending on the genre you're writing in those small moments could be enough. It's pretty much impossible to say if your work is too fast without reading any of it.
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Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:06 pm
Carlito says...

I think what you're doing can totally work. I'm thinking of The Hunger Games right now and I absolutely loved that book because it moved so quickly and there was always something exciting going on. I seriously read it in one sitting because it was so suspenseful and I couldn't put it down. So in that sense, having a really fast-paced book can rock. Your readers will be caught up in the action and suspense and will want to know what's going to happen next. The filler scenes can be important in some cases, but some books and some plots simply don't need a lot of it because it slows the story down.

If you're looking to write a face-paced book then keep doing what you're doing. As long as there is a lot of description, setting, and characterization in there, your readers are going to have a good picture in their head of what's going on and their going to be excited about what they're reading.

I agree with what Rosey said that if it's too fast the reader may get confused about what's going on. Also, if it's all purely action scenes, then they start to run together and become less cool because there are so many. But like Rosey said, I haven't read your novel so I don't know if this applies to you.

I would finish your novel and keep doing what you're doing. If it feels right to you and it's the story you want to tell, then go for it. If parts of it have to be changed or edited later, then that's fine.

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Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:34 pm
Dynamo says...

In my novel I tend to elaborate and expand upon whatever scene I may be writing, regardless of whether or not it's filler. That's probably the reason I've nearly hit the 60,000 word mark and I'm only half-way through. It's meant to be a huge epic story that will span the length of several books, and I already have so many ideas to incorperate that they won't all fit into one book. I take breaks from the main story once in a while to have the character sit back and talk or whitness something interesting, something that will help the reader learn a little more about the world I created. The trick in fantasy epics is to have a good balance of action and lore. The action is there to excite the readers, and the lore is there to enrich their minds a little as they read. Too much action will turn the book into the equivilant of a medeival James Bond, and too much lore will bog down the reader with information piled upon information. If you can find a balance you can make a truly great story that's both exciting and intreguing.

I find the best time to explore the lore of the world is during filler scenes or between important plot points, like a side note when your character notices something interesting during his travels that is expanded upon. A good policy is to have relevance in every scene you write, even if it's only filler. On these breaks you can introduce new elements of your world, or future plot points for your characters to discuss. A good example is a chapter in my story when it was basically the main character's first day on the road with his new mentor. It was meant as a breather after a grisly event that had happened in the previous chapter, but I still made it relevant to the rest of the story. In this chapter the main character learned how to ride a dinosaur, learned how to use magic, watched his mentor's dinosaur hunt for their food (which subsiquently introduced another of my story's creatures to the reader), and encountered a gold dragon.

The gold dragon bit at the end was actually a point that led into the next chapter while giving a subtle hint toward things to come. In my story gold dragons are the most peaceful and noble of all creatures, and it is considered very lucky to see one up close. There's a tradition among the people of my story that involves offering food to a gold dragon. If the gold dragon accepts and eats the offering it is a sign of good fortune. However, when the main character offered some food the gold dragon went balistic and flew away the moment it smelled it. I ended the chapter with a statement implying that if accepting the offering was considered good luck, then rejecting it meant bad luck. In one of the following chapters it comes full circle when the main character nearly blows his own arm off trying to cast too big of a magic spell.

See? Even though it was all filler I still kept it relevant to the rest of the story. I believe one of the greatest traits that a writer can have is the ability to make a seemingly pointless scene not only interesting, but also work to drive the plot along. If your story is action orriented then obviously you won't have many chances for these sort of fillers, but if it works then props to you. For now, I agree with Carlito. Finish your book as it is, then go back over it during the proofreading stage. If you feel it's too fast-paced the you can go back and introduce fillers and such to help slow it down a bit. As long as it hasn't been sent to the publishers to print you still have all the time you need to make it perfect. Don't squander it, only look to get it published when you feel it is ready.
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