Last week I talked about re-evaluating your characters. Take a look here.
Sometimes it is also a good idea to stop what you are writing even if you have not finished the book and re-evaluate your plot.
- A novel needs an ending but this ending need not be cast in stone. You need to have something to work towards, something to aim for.
- With plot, you also need to have a sub-plot. The sub-plot moves the reader along.
- It is very tempting to have another set of characters coming in when the hero needs to learn important information, try to avoid this. Sharpen in the re-write by cutting subsidiary characters.
- Don’t overcrowd scenes. Does the plot really require lots of people to be together in one place at one particular time? Be economical in the number of cast and scene changes. See action in your sequences. Think like a play-write or film director. You can fast forward and backwards to visualise your plot as frames. This way you can see if it isn’t running smoothly form one scene to the next.
- Use flashback rather than having a large scene that shows the plot and use it with purpose to move the story on.
- Imagine conversations to hone dialogue.
- In the first draft don’t worry about getting it right, just get it out of your mind and onto the paper, then you can edit and mould it into shape. The first draft is the bones – the bar skeleton.
- Analyse where your peaks and troughs are and always finish each chapter on a cliffhanger.
- If you use symbolism, it must play a part in the conclusion.
- End as soon as possible after the dramatic climax of the novel. Open with a bang but don’t go out with a phut.