Writing is easily one of the most challenging hobbies. Even if you come up with a stellar idea, there may still be huge plot holes. If you’re sitting at your computer beating yourself up over the flow of your novel, never fear, here are some tips to pull that hot mess together.
So many writers are too proud to ask for help, but collaborating with fellow writers is sometimes the easiest and most effective way to fix your work. Lots of times, you see your story playing out a certain way so you don’t even bother coming up with alternatives, leaving you to force something that may not work. Outside eyes critiquing your work, while scary, is infinitely helpful and can send you in a direction that you never would have thought of, but really makes your novel pop.
2) Combine story ideas
Lots of writers, myself included, have a list of potential story ideas- most of which get thrown out because they’re too broad or would have far too many technical problems. Before you retire them completely, see if you can merge any of those ideas into your current novel in order to fill plot holes and expand the plot. I’ve used this technique before and it worked like a dream.
3) Introduce a subplot
You finish your first draft, but there are so many little things that made sense in your mind but don’t add up on paper. What do you do? A great solution is to create another subplot. Come up with a new character and write them in a way that will fill in every gap. While doing this may alter the storyline, it’s very helpful if you need a motive for a character’s actions or something.
4) Change up characters
Don’t be afraid to mix up your characters. Maybe you’ve had the idea for a specific character for a while, but now they don’t one hundred percent make sense with the story. Just switch them up. Personality traits, physical appearance, even main character status are all factors easily changed into the process. Veronica Roth, author of the bestseller, Divergent, originally started writing her now famous book from Four, the love interest’s, perspective rather than Tris, the female protagonist. Halfway through, she realized it didn’t work so she switched it up. It’s your imaginary world, you can do whatever you want with it.
5) Walk away
This is the hard one. When a novel is almost perfect, it’s tempting to log insane hours trying to find that brilliant idea that will make everything magically come together. Unfortunately, that’s not how real life works. So take a break. Walk away from the novel for a week or so. Jot down any ideas that might come to you in a journal, but don’t obsess. Sometimes just taking a step back from a project will generate more ideas than any other writing method.
Use some of these ideas by participating in this year’s National Novel Writing Month! Go to www.nanowrimo.org for details.