HOW TO DECIDE WHAT TO CUTThe past week has been a brain full of information. Incorporating scenes and sequels into your novel can seem overwhelming. If you’re like me, I learned about these small units of plot building well after I starting book 1.
What I realized was that I needed a lot more tension — a mean a lot more. There were scenes that were so full of description that it took away from the power of the story. It was as if I, the narrator, pressed pause on the DVR, looked over at the viewers and said, “This is the good part right here. You gotta’ see how well this scene plays out.”
After this pause, I’d press play and allow the story to resume. I absolutely abhor when people do that with a movie that I’m watching, but somehow I had un-tactfully woven these Wal-mart threads into what I hoped would be a Calvin Klein story.
So what am I saying? It’s a bell that I’ve rung many times. Take a deep breath, look at your scenes, and decide which ones are not adding to your novel. How can you effectively add conflict into your writing — because without it, there’s just not a story?
Now is not the time to throw in the towel! You can do this! This is what brings you life. But with that, we have to be actively weaving out the weak parts of our writing. So don’t pack up your ball and leave. Stay in the game. It gets better.
Let’s take a look at some ideas, because you may not need a gross overhaul. If you have a scene where characters are just walking along the beaten path, have them hint at things in their pasts, or have them poke at the wounds of another character.
Spice it up so that there’s a feeling of, “How could he say that to her?” Or, “I never knew that about her.” Think of ways to introduce strong plot points while your character is just swinging on the front porch.
Maybe her boyfriend drives by and doesn’t stop to talk to her. Maybe her best friend comes up and accuses her of some falsehood. Maybe she ponders the challenges of life, and hints at signs of depression.
Always keep the reader reading. Think of the MRUs that we discussed. How can you show emotion more in your scenes? How can subtle nuisances be blasted to the surface?
We are interior designers when it comes to scenes, and we have to be meticulous about it everyday. If a scene is not motivated by a goal, then there’s no reason for the reader to be invested in it. If there’s no conflict, then the reader can skip the scene once the goal is discovered, and if there is no disaster / success, then the reader is left with an unresolved issue that we are responsible for solving.
I hope this helps. Thanks for stopping by!