In today’s episode, I’m sharing an important tip about how to write a great story.
As I work through the second draft of my novel, I discovered (more than once) a scene for which I couldn’t answer the following question, “What is the purpose of this scene?”
I almost deleted the passage, but then I asked myself if there was something more I can do to give it a reason for being? I hate to admit it, but sometimes I have a hard time deleting words I’ve taken so much time to write.
Two things I constantly have to remind myself when I write is that every scene must have a purpose to the overall story. Within each scene, nothing happens without a reason. You can’t mention Joe setting a gun on the night stand early in the story and never give it a reason for being. It’s going to be used to shoot someone, it’s going to become evidence in a crime case, it’s going to get stolen by his drug-addicted son, or something else equally important.
The big reason everything has a purpose is to create tension. Without the character worrying, having something happen to prevent them from reaching their goals, there is no tension. Why would your reader continue to read your novel?
Keep your reader reading…. Plant a seed.
So, with this in mind, I decided to keep the scene, but I revised it to hint at something to come. For example, a character has been attacked by a stalker. She has moved to a new home and put that person out of her life. In my revised scene, I created a conversation in which the character’s friend asks if she is sure he is out of her life, suggests a restraining
order, and comments on the security system that her brother installed for her. So now, I’ve put that little bug in the reader’s mind and I would expect my reader to wonder, is the stalker coming back? I’ve got to keep reading to find out.
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