Thursday, December 2, 2010

Revisions: What Really Matters to the Story

I always get about halfway through my revisions and realize my novel is getting too complicated. I panic and think there's no way I'll get all the loose ends wrapped up by the time I get to the ending.

Part of it is because when I write my first draft, I throw in lots of obstacles for my main characters. The more tension and conflict, the better, right? Maybe not. During the revision process, I need to weed some of them out. But which ones?

One thing that helps me to decide is to think of my novel as made up of  3 or 4 big sections. In each section, there's a task that is going to help my main character reach her goal. After that, I look how the smaller obstacles in that section affect the big task. The only obstacles that matter for the story are the ones that make a difference to the character reaching her goal. 

Another thing I've noticed is that it's easier to build from a simpler framework to a more complicated one. Things get tangled up fast when you're trying to fit together all the pieces of the story. When I stop and look at the "bare bones" of the story, it's a lot easier to see what does and doesn't belong. KISS (keep it simple, stupid) is going to be my new motto for December.


  1. KISS. I like that;-) Sounds like a motto I need to follow.

  2. Love your motto! I think I should apply it to myself :)

  3. I can get too complicated with my plots too! But usually that's how I like my books too. I love secrets and mysteries. The point is in making sure all the complications are related to the main story goal. Good luck!

  4. Making sure the bones are structurally sound is tough, but absolutely key. But I do like it when there is lots of layering on those bones! :)

  5. I know what you mean about making your story too complicate. Been there, done that. I like your solution.


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