I want to talk about one of the most important aspects of a novel that publishers, and readers, look for. This aspect is a solid, interesting novel from beginning to end. I, myself, have struggled with this in the past because I would come up with a story that I thought was great but would always tell people: “It gets better after the first couple of chapters”.
This is one of the biggest mistakes that you, as a writer, can make.
To talk about this issue let me ask you a couple of questions. What is your favorite book? Why is it your favorite book? In the beginning of this book, were you bored?
Most likely your answer to that last question will be no. Usually, bestselling books are solid stories from beginning to end. If you, as a writer, can’t make your story solid enough to be enjoyable to write or read from beginning to end, then you need to redevelop your novel. This doesn’t mean that you are a bad author, it just means that you have further work to do. Plot is everything and if a plot is weak, your reader will notice. Next time you go through your novel to edit it read it as though you are a reader. Are you interested from the first chapter or prologue? If not, then you need to rewrite it. And rewrite it. And rewrite it. I cannot stress this enough. If a writer is bored with their own work - either while reading it or writing it - then so will the reader.
If you are interested in traditional publishing, agents and publishers will only ask you for a couple of chapters to review when you pitch you novel to them. If they aren’t hooked based on those couple of chapters you will most likely be rejected. This has happened to me personally time and time again and I am still constantly trying to remind myself to develop plot in terms of making sure that it is solid from the beginning and doesn’t fade out towards the end. The best way to do this is to outline your novel as you go back through it and fill in any holes that you find. It is also best to do this as you are planning your novel before you actually write it.
If your novel is currently at this status, do not throw it away or feel defeated. Take a break if you need to then get back to it. Don’t edit your novel just in terms of grammar. Use the outline technique and change parts that you would like to reimagine or fill in the holes. Writing, after all, is rewriting, and no story is every truly finished.
I hope this tip helps those of you editing your novels or even those who are just starting out. If you would like me to expand on this topic feel free to contact me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the comments. I can provide you with an outline structure that you can fill out if that is something that you would like. I am here to help.
Published by Ashley Nestler