Monday, September 8, 2008

Editing in the plot threads

I am constantly impressed by skillful writers who weave hints, clues, and foreshadowing through a story only to reach fruition in the final act. It seems effortless, and unavoidable, when you read the ending. But as you and I know, writing to achieve this effect is anything but effortless.

It seems to me that this is a job better left to the editing process rather than first draft. That is not to say it is ignored during the first draft. If the general threads are not in place as you write, it will be much more difficult to pull them together in the second pass, maybe even causing a major rewrite.

But I guess that once I've finished my first draft, the scrutiny I pay to the threads of plot and theme in the second, third, and fourth pass will be what determines if my book is trash, just okay, pretty good, or extraordinary. Once the overall work is done, I believe it will be easier to see the overview and find the best ways to use breadcrumbs in the story to tie things together.

For example, a hidden letter is discovered early in the book with the intention of using it to propel the protagonist forward into the story. After finishing the book, you need an extra touch to tie the end together with the beginning. In the editing process, you can modify the letter to give it an extra level of meaning that helps bring the story to a close.

As always, I'm just spouting off my best guess as an amateur. Feel free to comment on the blog with your opinions.

No comments: