In-Between Bits

I’m starting to wonder if it’s the in-between bits that really make a story.

After working on this project for months, I’ve developed a lot more confidence in my ability to write. Not like my work is perfect – it’s all first draft, after all – but I feel like I can write decent dialogue and description. I feel like I can pace scenes pretty well. I’ve leveraged my ability at verbal improv a bit better into it, too, so that I’m not second-guessing every decision I make.

Some of the story concepts I’ve come up with – most of them on the spur of the moment, just as I’m sitting down to write – are really compelling, I think. Maybe even worth expanding. Some of my readers have certainly said as much. My scenes are pretty solid, at least for an amateur.

So what’s standing in the way between where I am now and writing a longer story? Something with a plot, character development, all that sort of thing? My current working hypothesis is that it’s about linking it all together. Both those things are about the passage of time. Developing things from scene to scene in such a way as to make a sensible narrative.

When I’ve tried to write longer form, my characters feel flat and my plot seems to be sort of random. Even with an overarching idea of what’s “supposed to” happen, I lost track somewhere along the way. I have points A, B, and maybe even C. But my mind just wants to jump from one to the next. This doesn’t leave any room for the subtler arts that make characters relatable or may a story really matter to the reader.

I don’t know if writing this out will actually help me solve this. But hey, it’s five minutes, right?