Friday, April 4, 2014

What Should Go and What Should Stay

I know, still on the plotting your book subject, but one of the dilemma's you will face when plotting your scenes is what should you keep and what should you cut.

It's hard to cut what you've written, but one of the quotes we have to live by is "don't fall in love with a line" and that includes a sentence or even a scene. Now, what do we take out of our baby's? 

Have you ever been reading a book and felt like something was missing from it? You don't quite understand what happened and where certain things came from because you don't remember reading that? Or maybe the opposite. Your skimming too much information because you really don't care and it doesn't add to the story? These are the places you need to work on.

I've been plotting Lore for the last week so I can begin to write the next book, Tale, and have found that there are certain places where the story drags. I need to keep the tension up and still get the information to the reader since this is a series and a new world we are creating.

It's not an easy task, but one that can be accomplished if you take the time to do it. The last thing you want to do is publish a droning book, or one that leaves out scenes that are valuable to the story. Here are a few pointers for you to read and hopefully you will be able to implement them when plotting.

1. First, keep the scenes where the action is taking place. These are the most important to get the reader to turn the page. Yes, there will be scenes where dialog between the characters happen, but you want to keep the characters moving, or discovering as you go.

2. You want the scenes that keep the story going forward. Sure action scenes are exciting but if your story is all action that can drag the book as well. I don't know about you, but it exhausts me or leaves me feeling like I don't want to read another battle scene or scene where the antagonist is torturing another person. Sometimes a little does a lot more for your story.

3.  You want to keep the emotion high as much as the action. People want to know how the characters are feeling. This brings the characters to life and adds more richness to the story. But don't go into too much back story to explain what the character is going through. Here, little can go a long way also and you don't want to beat the reader over the head with unnecessary information.

4. Include scenes that more than one thing is happening at once. This keeps the tension high and the reader wondering how they are going to solve their multiple issues. 

5. Don't always repeat information. Sometimes it's nice to have a reminder, but you don't need it continuously. The reader will remember most but if it's an important part you might want to remind them. If you do too much it bogs the story down with repetitive info. Usually in the more climactic scenes is where you can remind.

6. Usually your story is spread out in weeks, months and sometime years. Your not going to write everyday occurrences. Keep these to a minimum. It will bore the reader and there's no reason to write what they do all day, everyday, just what they do that moves the story along and still describes the world their in.

7. Make sure to show instead of tell as much as possible. Describe what's happening to pull the reader into the scene. What does it smell like, taste, feel. I recently read a book, well, skimmed a book, since most of it was telling. The author actually wrote lines like, "they rode and they rode" believe it or not.

Well, I hope these points help you in your journey of plotting. It's okay to cut scenes that are unnecessary and even add where the story is lacking. That's the nice thing about plotting, you can see these issues before you decide your book is ready and take care of them. 

I hope that when you finish your book you pick good beta-readers who are honest and forthcoming to where your story needs work. And don't forget to have an editor go over your book before you take the leap.

Until next Friday, I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend and that you have beautiful weather to enjoy in your neck of the woods!

Love, Lisa