Monday, October 7, 2013

Improving Character, Plot, and Setting

I'm excited about how the rewrites on my WIP are going. I've been able to work through some of the major issues of my manuscript which included:

Character: I figured out what my main character's motivation was and made it clearer. I've made my character more proactive. Instead of accidentally stumbling upon clues, she goes looking for them. Her actions not only bring her closer to her goal, but also cause more problems and opposition from others along the way.

Plot: I've fixed some of the pacing problems by cutting less important scenes down and expanding more important ones with greater detail, dialog, introspection, action, and conflict. I've given each scene one or more specific purposes: character development, plot advancement, setting the scene, building suspense, etc. . .

Setting: I chose a specific location for my story and did research on the area to make the setting more authentic, realistic, and detailed. I incorporated local legends into the story, and I'm using actual businesses: restaurants, stores, etc. in my scenes. Since at times I find narrowing things down to be limiting and not conducive to my plot, I've left the wilderness area in my story vague so I can have more freedom with the setting.

What are some things you've done to improve character, plot/pacing, and setting in your novels?


  1. That's great, Alice! I have been retooling my stories lately, too. Setting is a biggie. I recently read an excerpt from Malala's memoir (she is the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for wanting to go to school) and the sensory details really made her story come alive.

  2. I'm so glad you're retooling your stories, too. I look forward to reading them someday.

  3. One of the things I do in a character edit is go through the book looking for any mention of a character's name. Somewhere within a paragraph or two I put in something (even if only one word) that helps clarify that character.

  4. Good idea.Think I"ll try that in my next character edits. What kinds of clarification to you do? examples? Something to set them apart? Character specific dialogue, actions, or a quirk or something else?