Every story has a point to it. There’s always some sort of impending doom looming menacingly at the protagonist, which the entire story will lead up to.
And yet often times we find ourselves…well, getting distracted from it. It’s way too easy to wedge a party in there (“For some excitement,” we tell ourselves) or throw in a dance-off battle scene (“For epic-ness,”) or even an entire new epic character half-way through the book (“For comic-relief,”).
While on the outside these things seem fun, they’re actually damaging your story.
Today we’re going to be looking at 3 different distractions writers have, and how to avoid them!
Let’s get started!
1. Cool For the Sake of Cool
SOOooo essentially, the definition of ‘cool for the sake of cool’ is when writer’s think ‘OH, OH, OH! I KNOW-I’m gunna throw in this epic motorcycle chase with the protagonist and antagonist and they’ll drive around epically for a while and take out badguys and stuff!”
UUUHHHhmmm oneeeeee itsy bitsy lil’ problem with that…
There’s no point.
It would be just as easy to chop this chase out and still have the same story go on! In this case, the chase would be called ‘filler’.
Just ask yourself: Is this going to continue to throw my plot forwards as well as move protagonist forwards in some way in his inner journey?
If the answer is no, then you have to carefully consider whether or not to take it out.
- How to Avoid: ‘Cool for the sake of cool’ just happens. Even after a whole lot of in-depth plotting, it’s almost unavoidable (unless you’re very strict about your writing) to forgo it. My advice is, again, to just ask yourself the question above and determine whether to keep it in or not.
2. Words for The Sake of Words
Word-count doesn’t matter. I mean, YES, I LOVE talking about my word count, because it makes me feel like I’m really getting somewhere, and it’s nice to look at it, but it’s not the main thing. The ‘thing’ is how good your book is. And adding in extra stuff just for a higher word-count aint gunna make it better.
Think of it this way: When readers sit down to read your book, will they care about your word count? And while they’re reading your book-honestly think to yourself-can the reader see my word count?
The answers to those questions…? IS NO!
*cups shatter and everyone gasps in horror at me*
Yes, guys, this is the truth. So proud of my younger self *sniffles dramatically*
Don’t just write words…USE them! Use them to share with the world the story you want to give them.
- How to Avoid: Take my advice, guys, reader’s can’t see your word count-nor do they care about-as they’re reading your book. All those extra flowery words just to push the bar up a bit more is not doing your book or readers any favors.
3. Characters For the Sake of Characters
This was a mistake I almost fell into when I was chopping out literally everything in my book a year or so ago.
SOooo basically, my book used to be very dark and dramatic and I was like, “Eesh, everyone’s gunna feel so depressed after reading this book!”
don’t worry it’s not like that anymore SO I came up with the greatest plan EVER that will make my book the greatest out there!
I’ll add in a comic relief character.
Welllll not exactly.
The character that I chose…had no effect whatsoever on the plot. I could’ve even dramatically killed him and the story would’ve stayed the same.
Characters must matter to the plot and have an effect on it in some way.
- The protagonist: what the story is all about.
- The antagonist: the character stopping the protagonist from getting what he Wants.
- Minor characters: there to help push the protagonist forwards in the plot and have an effect on his inner journey.
If any of your characters are not directly effecting your protagonist or the plot in some way, cut them out.
- How to Avoid: Well, plot out your characters! Plot out every one of them. Plot them out so well that it’d be positively ridiculous to throw in a random one.
And as a rule of thumb for any writing in life: If it’s not necessary, cut it out of the story.
Do you guys ever get distracted by any of the things in these tips?
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I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment down below.
Thanks for reading!
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