Monday, January 02, 2006

Sagging Suspense

The most common problem with novels good enough to consider for publication is that they sag in the middle. The story loses momentum, suspense flags, and the reader is no longer curious about what will happen next.

You can fix this problem and improve almost any first or second draft by cutting the weakest scene. Just find the scene where your own interest flags, and eliminate it. If possible, eliminate the second-weakest scene too. As the great silent-screen writer and director Carl Theodore Dreyer said, "The essential is sufficient."

Another cure for the sagging novel is to strengthen it with architectural suspense (location hopping).

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