I’m still in the revision cave, but here’s a revision-related post you might enjoy. Also a reminder: my Super Sourcebooks Giveaway ends in 2 days! Just comment for your chance to win 3 awesome books.
A while back, Laura asked a great question in the comments: What is the most recent leap in understanding craft you’ve made? I had to mull this over for a while since I feel like I’m always learning more about craft. But when I thought back to all the revision I’ve been doing lately, one main theme emerged: the importance of knowing the purpose of every scene.
This might sound like obvious advice, but I don’t just mean knowing what happens in the scene (e.g. Suzie has a fight with Adam), I mean really knowing what every moment, every sentence, is contributing to the story. That way, if you wind up cutting out a paragraph, for example, you know exactly what function it was serving in your story and you can determine if that function can be served in some other way.
I came across a perfect example of this in one of my WIPs. As I’ve mentioned before, I had to do some serious cutting from the beginning of a WIP. While it made the pacing work better at the beginning, I realized that it also completely eliminated scenes that established the tight-knit relationship between the main character and his father, and it also took out the introduction of an important secondary character. I went back through the opening chapters and wrote in a short little scene that helped show the relationship between the main character and his father. Then I worked in a mention of the secondary character before we meet her.
When you’re going through your WIP, you need to know exactly what every moment of every scene is giving you. If there are lines, paragraphs, or pages that don’t actually DO anything to further your story (add to character development, advance plot, etc.) you either need to cut them out or you need to give them a reason for being there. It’s this kind of line-by-line precision that will make every word of your story count.
Thanks, Laura, for asking such a thought-provoking question! Okay, now it’s your turn, dear readers: What is the most recent leap in understanding craft you’ve made?