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I am so grateful to James Scott Bell at Kill Zone for writing this post! You know how it goes, you have a great story and exciting things are happening to your characters.. until they don’t. There are always down times where your character needs to get from point A to point B and the journey is just boring. Or waiting to meet someone. Or life. Because real life has a lot of boring busyness to it. While you don’t want to bore your reader, you still need to fill in those gaps to give your story depth. How do you flesh out your story?
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Got the following email the other day:
Dear Mr. Bell,
I recently finished reading your books Super Structure and Write Your Novel From the Middle. They’re awesome, and have taught me a lot about how to better structure a novel. I’ve now sketched out my current novel with the Super Structure beats and feel like I have a solid framework. But the problem I’m running into is filling the spaces between these beats with enough scenes to create a full novel. I’m using Scrivener’s index card feature to write out my scenes, but my poor corkboard looks awfully sparse. 🙂
Do you have any tips or suggestions on how to come up with enough plot to make a whole book? (This is actually a recurring problem for me. I struggle with plotting terribly.)
It’s a great question. Today’s post is my answer.
In Super Structure I describe what I call “signpost scenes.” These are the major structural beats that guarantee a strong foundation for any novel you write.
The idea is that you “drive” from one signpost to another. When you get to a signpost, you can see the next one ahead. How you get to it is up to you. You can plan how, or you can be spontaneous about it.
Or some combination in between!