Today I have used up the last bit of my stay-cation to really churn out the words and get up to speed on my works in progress. Works? Yes, well I now have two separate works that I am editing at the same time. I finished writing the last 5,000 words of the Soulstealer novella and have finished the breakdown of Fae Guardian. The plot lines of the novella weave directly into the second book in the trilogy, so I had to finish the first draft in order to complete the next step in my novel revision process.
Revision Step Three: Examine your plot lines.
If you have finished the novel revision breakdown using Scrivener or using a spreadsheet you should be able to read down the summary and conflict columns and see a clear picture of where you took this story. Hopefully you made notes as you went along of things that struck you as odd or needed fixing. But it isn’t just the obvious fixes we are after.
First you need to identify what these plot lines are. Each of your characters has their own story arc. Hopefully these arcs all weave into a central plot line. If they don’t you need to ask yourself if you really need those plots or those characters in your story.
Sometimes it is difficult to really step back and examine what plot lines we have woven into our story. The easiest way for me to identify them is by writing out what each character wants at the beginning, a summary of what they go through to get what they want, and the end result. This might seem simplistic, but you need to start somewhere. The simple approach is best used with side characters and subplots. Ask yourself if your side characters have enough of a role in the book. Do their storylines really work into the main plot line? Do you need to add more scenes to really flesh out those subplots or do you have too many and need to remove some of them?
There is one book on novel revision that I will definitely recommend. It is full of practical exercises you can go through when you are revising and it is only 100 pages long. Novel Metamorphosis by Darcy Pattison. Within her book she has a chapter on plot which discusses obligatory scenes or the climax, narrative arcs, and ways to fix a sagging middle. These are the exercises I will be running through in the coming weeks as I examine my plot lines. In fact, I just discovered that Darcy recently released a 2nd edition of her book which I have just ordered and will probably be studying this week. 🙂