There’s a great post over on S.R. Kriger’s blog which focuses on the five easiest plot mistakes writers make. I don’t think I have an issue with passive protagonists, but I do have a problem with number four in the list – the protagonist is stuck on details.
I kind of knew that it would be a problem that I’d need to tackle during the rewrite. My characters have a main goal to achieve and lots of obstacles to overcome on their way to achieving it, but does the reader really need to spend pages reading about how they walked through a forest to reach a river to get to a meeting? Nope.
There are some interesting plot points during that part of the journey, but do the exposition scenes really need to be there? Do they add anything to the story? Do they tell the reader anything about the character that they cannot get in other scenes? This is something I’m going to have to consider carefully.
Writing good dialogue
I stumbled across this short video on how to tighten up dialogue. I love writing dialogue heavy scenes, and I have loads of characters that need to be introduced to each other and bit part characters, so the advice in this video is something that I need to keep in mind.
Some authors write the last chapter first. On the one hand, it just feels wrong to write that way, but I also agree with Richard Peck – “the first chapter is the last chapter in disguise.”
I do extensive outlines and planning before I write, so you could say that I do write towards an established ending, but my plans are flexible. If I get a better idea for how a character would react in a situation, and that leads them down a different route towards their goal, I’ll re-plot.
For me, I don’t think it matters if I write the first chapter or the last chapter first. Changes will probably be made along the way anyway, and the beginning and ending of the book will need to be changed to reflect them.