I’ve been working on a manuscript for the past two months or so, and it recently got to the point that I felt like I was going in too many different directions. I was frustrated, not by the writing, but at what I had written. Finally, I sat down, and asked myself a simple question.
What questions am I asking in this novel?
As most writers attest, a novel can be thought of as a series of questions and answers. Will Mr. Protagonist save Ms. Damsel? How will he do this? Will his best friend fall along the way? He had an argument with his other friend, how will their relationship turn out?
Questions have to be answered in a satisfying way.
Usually, I have no problem doing this. This time I did. And, after listing all of my questions, I pinpointed the problem.
I didn’t have too many questions. I had too many SEPARATE questions. I’m pretty sure I could split the plot into four different plots, and each one could have a short story/novella/novel centered around them. There was a main plot, and some sideplots, and they weren’t integrated enough.
When writing a book, be aware of your ending. Things NEED to connect in the end. If a sideplot is happening, make it relevant in some way. Answer the questions together. Don’t give yourself two equal but completely separate climaxes.
I had unwittingly written myself into that situation. So, to answer my own questions, I rewrote my outline for the second half of my book. Now the plots merge. Now the questions all matter to each other. Now one event can answer multiple questions.
I have a good climax planned to take care of everything. Now I just have to get there.
See you around!