A story that repeats itself can appear redundant or poorly edited. Nobody enjoys reading the same thing repeated over and over, whether in dialogue, description, or foreshadowing. Even in real life, such things can grate on the nerves.
By this point, we’ve put so much work into our stories, we believe there couldn’t be anything left to handle. The plot’s cohesive, the stakes are high, our characters are compelling, we’ve kept the reader interested to the end… Everything is as it should be. Then we edit. Only to find our story doesn’t read as it should, things can be worded better, overused words and phrases that need to be cut or substitutions found…
Our first drafts can sometimes end up shorter than we would like them to be. This is often due to missing details, a need for better descriptions, areas where we did more telling than showing… We can’t always expect everything to come to mind when we need it to.
Have you ever noticed when you’re doing or reading something you love, time seems to fly by? And before you know it, it’s over, and you’re left wishing it had lasted longer? The opposite could be said for the things you hate. Time seems to drag, and you wish it would just end already. The speed of your prose can have the same effect.
If we want our readers to form an emotional connection with our main character, they must be able to get into their heads. They need to experience their reactions, feelings, and thoughts about their surroundings and the events around them.
When there are multiple characters in a scene, it can be difficult to keep track of who’s doing the talking. It’s so much easier when we’re writing dialogue for only two people. All we have to do is let them take turns and, in longer sections of dialogue, occasionally insert a speech tag or bit of action to keep it clear who’s talking. But once we start adding more characters in, it soon becomes confusing without dialogue tags to keep readers from getting lost. This may work as a quick fix but isn’t always the best solution.
I love stories where all the pieces fall into place and end in ways I would never have expected. But once I knew the answer, I could see the clues the author placed clear as day. It may look easy when you’re reading, but the truth is foreshadowing takes a lot of time and planning to get things just right.
Finding the right amount of description can be a tricky thing. Too little and the story won’t feel real. Too much and the reader starts to skim. Either way, we lose the reader’s attention. And once lost, it’s hard to get back.
The story elements we use determine whether our readers will laugh, cry, or be sickened or excited. Tone is the emotion you want to convey to your reader. How you want them to feel when they read your novel. It affects the story’s mood and draws attention to your word choice. Portraying the wrong emotion can turn a horror story into a comedy or a romance into a thriller.
Even those who outline are bound to find a plot hole or two. Often, we forget to show character motivations or leave events feeling unrealistic or implausible. We can find these plot holes by ensuring the plot flows logically from point to point.