Earlier in my Save the Cat! series of posts, I went into detail about revising No Rest for the Wicked using Blake Snyder’s beats. To go with the theme of “When is enough, enough?” over at ourwriteside.com this month, I contributed an article that describes those beats in depth and how they apply to the separate plot and character arcs, as well as reader experience. Read the full article now, or check out this piece of the intro to find out more:
I am currently working on the sequel to a novel, but my original plan was to do a long series of novellas instead of a shorter series of novels. This was partly to have a robust self-publishing calendar, but also because I thought I’d pay homage to the 19th century serials because that’s the time period when it takes place. So, about a year ago, I sent out a few queries to publishers that specialize in shorter works before I took the self-publishing plunge. At that time, I had about 42,000 words. I heard back from two publishers who said they liked my premise and my writing, but I just didn’t have quite “enough.”
Sure, it was better than the dreaded “not the right fit,” because they both invited me to revise and resubmit. But it took me a while to figure out what they even meant and precisely how to integrate their feedback. As tempting as it can be to say someone “just doesn’t get it” and move on, these sorts of notes are exactly the feedback you should be looking for. I received this same “not enough” feedback at two different points while reaching the real ‘The End’ of No Rest for the Wicked, and even though the readers couldn’t pinpoint how to fix something, the fact that what I did left them wanting more (and not in a good way) meant I needed to take notice.
I’d like to share some of what I learned during this process to help you decide when you need more, less, or just something a little bit different. In this post, we’ll be looking at creating a satisfying reader experience through a well-constructed story arc. In the companion post, I’ll tell you all about adding a subplot. These tips can apply as you plan, as I am doing right now with the sequel, or during editing, as it happened with No Rest for the Wicked.