Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Home Stretch

Photo by Jade, Morguefile.com
Isn’t it exciting to come into the home stretch of a work in progress? For me, this is when I am satisfied with the overall story, but I am questioning the smaller stuff. With my focus on the finish line, I give a last look at specific areas of my novel that might need a tweak or an adjustment. For example:

CHARACTERS Will readers care enough about the characters in my novel to keep reading from page one until the end? I hope the answer is yes, but I will often do a final review by concentrating on individual characters. This is a good way to be sure that each is unique and that actions are not predictable.

CONFLICT I often reread to be sure there is enough conflict and that it is balanced. Too much all at once can be overwhelming or ring false. Not enough can be ho-hum.

SCENES Does the setting come alive in a way that most benefits each scene? If not, what details can I add to make this happen? How many characters are in the scene and does this work? A crowd can be cumbersome. Also, does something change in each scene? Where is the crisis and the drama? Is every scene necessary to my plot? Are there too many similar scenes?

OVERALL MESSAGE Have I said what I intended? Or, has the message changed somewhere in the many drafts?

What do you focus on when you hit the home stretch of a project (other than finishing it)?