Do you ever read through your chapters, and ask yourself, am I adding fillers or is this moving the plot? If you’re not asking yourself that, now is the time to go back to Chapter 1!
Here is an example of what you may say to justify why you wrote what you wrote.
- This may bore my reader but they need to know this back story so I can deliver the punch they will get at the end!
- I have to increase my word count.
- Too much is happening right now, my characters need a break!
- My book is unique it is not meant to follow the norm.
Here is what I say about my book, The Birth
It is still too early for my readers know who Avalon is, what the heck an Ososi is, and how Lenurs live in Talen! Introducing Avalon early and not building on Lola’s character will draw my readers to her as she is the one who turns Lola’s life upside down! We are looking at the world through Lola’s eyes, but who is she anyway and how did she end up in a cabin on the Okanogan National Forest?
You’re writing it, but they’re reading it
Your readers can’t turn the next page unless you give them a reason to, many writers say you need to add conflict, or put some kind of struggle your character is facing in order to keep your readers hooked–well they’re right, but it’s risky to throw the first thing that comes to your mind without taking three steps back and then ten steps forward to see if it’s keeping in track of your chapter! I’m a pantser, I can write a book from Chapter 1 to end but I will also fall back on outlining when I’m taking three steps backs and then ten steps forward.
Three steps back , ten steps forward
If you’re writing a stand alone novel with no plans to make a sequel or series, you don’t need to steep too much to implement the mysterious scenes you haven’t told your readers yet. If you’re writing epics, sagas, series, chronicles–whatever you may call them, you also don’t want your chapters to be a filler! We are not making a jelly filled doughnut!
What to consider if your chapter is worth it
- Can I bring this scene later in the chapters, or books ahead, and why is it significant?
- Unless that red hat your character keeps describing is going to blow up or turn into a rabbit or have some other significance, you don’t need to keep grinding it on every chapter!
- You’re describing the setting very well, but how long will your character stay there? If he or she is just passing by, make it brief or skip it (unless you’re adding symbolic messages) use description in areas they will be spending most of their time but implement it well!
- I love dialogues but if my character keeps saying “Why?” put your picture on the wall of shame and erase it (I do this all the time).
But if you felt my advice was wrapping you up in twine, and somewhat giving you an uncomfortable squeeze, I know I have done a job well done. Remember, your story is still your story, but do you want to know who else calls it theirs? Your readers.