Hi I'm writing a fic, which is a coda. I didn't like how the last season of the show ended, and decided to write a sequel to "fix" it. I know where I want it to go, I also have an outline of what should happen but I can't obviously make it happen overnight. So how do I connect everything, without making it sound like an unrelated patchwork of events? I already had this issue with an original story, and I gave up on it. I don't want to go through this again: I really care about that fic!
Thanks for your question, love! That sounds like an exciting project :) You definitely shouldn’t give up yet!
So your question is a bit vague in terms of what your exact problem is, but I think I get what you’re saying. You have multiple plots/subplots going on, but nothing really pulling them together into one story – no cause and effect. If that’s the case, I think I have some ideas for you.
Traits of a Cohesive Story
- Theme – A solid theme – whether literal (e.g. each plot revolves around people dying of cancer), emotional (e.g. multiple characters face the same emotion, like loneliness or passion), or moral (e.g. multiple situations require a moral decision, like pacifism vs. justice) (in other words, Undertale) – can tie even the most disparate plots together. For fanfiction, maintaining themes from the source material is very important to create an authentic, in-character feeling. Think about the themes in your show – this will give you direction.
- Character arcs – While most writers know to develop their characters, we don’t always think about the structure of an arc. Like any good plot, your main characters should have a beginning point (who they are, untouched), a direction they’re going (how they’re growing, for better or worse), a setback or two, and their ultimate decision of whether to continue growing, or to regress. Strong character arcs give a story purpose, and create that sense of continuity you may be lacking.
- A message – No matter how many different events occur in your story, if you can draw them toward one message, you’ll come out looking fine! The message could be very specific (e.g. when the world ends, all that matters is having someone to hold), or vague (e.g. “it’s always darkest before the dawn”), as long as it encompasses multiple plot points or character arcs. Think about what you’re saying to the reader, and try to boil it down to one distinct point.
- A conclusive ending – Plots or events that seem disjointed can be pulled together by a mutual ending – a final result that wouldn’t be possible if things had transpired differently. Even if it’s as simple as the butterfly effect (the entire premise of Life is Strange) (sorry, I’m in a video game mood), an ending that involves most (or all) of the story’s plots will make everything feel connected.
I hope this helps you to move forward with what sounds like a great story :) If this wasn’t helpful, be sure to send us another ask with more information!
Thanks again, and good luck!
– Mod Joanna ♥️