Building a story at the scene-level, we have to understand the essential components of a scene in order to give it focus. The scene has to advance the story else it fails in its purpose, which is to drive action or reaction in the characters. …
Whatever the genre, the author has to decide what immediately matters. What’s the emotional core of the story?
Hold back on the world-building. Cancel the info-dump. Readers don’t care about your world unless you give them characters to care about first. This is how story works. Pile on the world-building before the characters and what you have is a setting, not a story. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Middle Earth, St Mary Meade or Pemberly.
One of the sessions of last year’s writers’ summits covered revision planning with Troy Lambert. At Daniel David Wallace’s Revising and Editing Workshop, Lambert presented a solid and concise approach to revising a novel.
Navigating a path from start to finish of a novel can be hard for both plotters and free-writers; enter the Skeleton Draft.
The Skeleton Draft is an idea-dump. Maybe you outlined the novel using a story structure such as the Hero’s Journey or any of the five, seven, seventeen or twenty-four point methods. Or maybe you have a scant clue of your story without a real structure in mind. The Skeleton Draft is a means to dive into the story and explore characters, conflicts and events without getting hung up on prose before you really have the idea worked out.