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.

5 comments:

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

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

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  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!

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  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! :)

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

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