Thursday, April 25, 2013

Slimming Down

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! I can't believe I missed my hump-day post, but working too much is never something I complain about. Today, we're talking about slimming down an overweight novel. These are just a few things you can do to cut out the drag. Remember, a good editor will tell you when it isn't working and give you suggestions on how to fix it. Grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going, shall we?

When you're writing a novel, you generally have three acts. The first is to introduce the doorway and the challenge/opposition. By the time you get to the third, you're ready to bring things to a head and give your novel an ending. What a lot of writers struggle with is the journey, the middle, the part where you are heading toward the end. Sometimes, it ends up with no excitement. On Tuesday, I gave you ways to add to your skinny tale. Now we're gonna talk about ways to slim it down if it's too heavy.

  1. Cut out the boring. If you find the story lacking tension, take some of the scenes out. These can be reaction scenes, dialogue, or scenes lacking conflict. If your editor might lose interest, cut it down or cut it out.
  2. Take away a subplot. You can absorb a subplot into the main plot to strengthen it, or combine two subplots into one to make things more interesting for the reader.
  3. Kill someone off. That's right, kill them. Maybe they're stealing the spotlight from the main character or maybe you just decide their motives aren't for the purpose of good. As an alternative, you can combine two secondary characters and make them into one strong character.

If you craft act two well, you have the opening for a killer ending. You can put your protagonist through hell only to have them be rewarded for their struggles. Or, you can always have your protagonist fail. Some of those endings make a so-so book one that's remembered.

What exercises do you use to trim the fat?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


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