Thursday, September 13, 2018

Major Edits - Start With Sub-Plots

I am in the middle of some major edits with one of my clients. This is a big over-haul! For many authors, they would see this and completely freak out. I will admit, I did too when I got ready to work. However, once I got going, this became a lot easier.

For most, people would start making cuts in their stories looking at scenes that might not be needed, or to cut back "how much" they tell the reader about specific locations. While this does certainly trim the story and tighten it up a lot (and very useful), this was not where we had to start.

The easiest way to cut is to look at those subplots.

For many authors, while the sub-plots might have seemed, at the time, to be a great direction for the book, these plot lines really only distracted from the main plot. Sub-plots are there to add depth and more complexity to the main plot. Unfortunately, for many authors, these just become a second story being told inside the larger story.

It is always important to look at everything you put into your story as a useful piece to advance the story. If the things you put in the story do not move the story in a forward direction, then it is simply not worth it.

So, that is where I started with the story. Sure enough, it was the best approach. Now, were there some things that I wanted to keep in those story lines? Sure! In one case, the protagonist had some information that had to get out about her current situation. In the first version, she had a friend she talked to. Simple enough. Dump the friend and have her simply talk it through with herself.

Your task today and the rest of the week is to examine the things you are putting in your story. Necessary? Then keep! Not necessary? Dump it.


  1. ... but wait until you have finished your first draft, because sometimes one of those minor characters comes zooming out of obscurity and saves the day.

  2. I agree with Jennifer. Get the first draft out of your head. Never take a step back while writing it.