When you need to improve your story quickly, you don’t have time for long lectures, expensive courses or to hunt down that how-to writing book you read three years ago.
When time is running out, you need accelerated strategies that do double, triple or quadruple duty in half the time. You need quick-action methods of top editors, publishing professionals and bestselling authors.
No worries. Simply apply the following five strategies to instantly improve your stories:
5 Strategies to Instantly Improve Your Story
Read them. Write them down. Keep them close. These five strategies can 10X your story in record time.
5. The Slash Strategy
As hard as it might be, cut as much as possible. Like a crazed literary sociopath, slash away at paragraphs and whole pages.
Consider cutting the first page. Seriously consider it. Sometimes stories take too long to get started. Cut as many pages from the beginning as possible since that’s where most stories fail. Hack, hack, hack. The resulting version will often be a cleaner, stronger and more powerful story.
4. The Merge Strategy
How many characters make up the fictional cast of your story? Whatever the number, consider reducing the cast by asking characters to play more than one role. Can the best friend also be the cop? Can the love interest also be the boss?
Combining roles often adds layers of richness to the story, while complicating the relationships. Both qualities of a riveting story.
3. The Tension Strategy
Add tension to every page of the story. If you don’t have time for a complete tension makeover, add tension to every page for the first 20 pages. If tension already exists on a page, add another form or strengthen the current form. The more tension, the better.
Many stories fail for a lack of tension, especially in the beginning.
2. The Craving Strategy
What does your main character, the protagonist, want more than anything? What about the antagonist or villain?
Make them want it more.
The higher their motivation, the better fictional battle. Ask, “How can this goal matter more to my character?” Keep asking the question until you increase the craving for the goal three or four times.
1. The Take-Away Strategy
Make a quick list of what your character needs to accomplish his or her goal? Maybe it’s another character, a special item or some secret knowledge.
Whatever the character needs, take it away.
All of it? Not necessary, but it’s a good idea to consider slowly and surely removing all the things the character needs. This creates suspense and a growing dread that the protagonist might not win in the end. In other words, a nail-biting experience for readers.
I hope using these five strategies will help you improve your writing quickly. You might want to make a copy and post it somewhere within eyesight, or save it to your computer for easy access.
More articles on riveting storytelling:
If you want to see the strategies applied in narrative form, please check out my novel, PAST LIVES, the first in the Past Lives series about a reincarnated serial killer.
Or just Hear What Readers Are Saying.