Writing quality not quantity #1

A Stump on your Writing Road

Have you ever written like there was no stopping you until out of nowhere you’re writing are just empty words, that make no sense?

This is not an issue on grammar or punctuation, I’m assuming you have taken care of that, what I’m talking about is your story. There are times where you will have to erase an entire chapter and start over or risk approving a chapter with flaws—your chapters shouldn’t leave you feeling insecure, so here is an example of what too look for.

You’re editing is running smooth:

As I’m working through the final edits of Lola: Aftermath of The Birth, my biggest stump was the climax of the novel—you know, the best part you can write! I spent two days on one single chapter erasing, shifting sentences around, adding new scenes, and dialogue, but nothing I did in the past that resolved current stump helped! I was frustrated, and started averting my eyes from the chapter to look at my phone, and when I came back to write, I dreaded every minute reading on repeat.


A chapter that runs smoothly will feel like the current of the wind, and although you are the one who wrote it, you will find yourself being drifted alongside the story. You can test this by not reading your book for a day and going back to see if you get the same effect. Granted, you will probably edit a word or two along the way, but that’s what you’re supposed to do.

Show a chapter to a reader:

I recommend taking a chapter or chunk to a reader you trust. If they say “you forgot a comma,” thank your lucky star because you can fix that, but if they say “I’m sorry—what does the clerk have anything to do with what’s going on with MC?” then you better start rolling your sleeves.


That is the sinking hole I was stuck in, I gave my chapter to my husband and warned him, “You’re not going to like this, but trust me it was far worse than it was.” He reads it while I wait for him to be done and you can hear my words virtually stab him with reactions that made him say “What!?” “That doesn’t make any sense!” I almost curled into a ball when he finished the chapter, but that’s how I knew I wasn’t fooling anyone, that chapter needs a lot of work.

What happens if you don’t fix it now:

Plot holes! If you think your readers are not going to catch on, then you are clearly underestimating them. I am always going back to my manuscripts and digging through my notebooks to make sure all of my future volumes will remain consistent. To resolve it—you have put in the work, the last thing you want to do is create a last-minute phony excuse to explain why your protagonist or antagonist did the thing they did, because again—your reader will know.  

How I fixed my stump, and how you can fix yours:

I read and edited the same eleven pages with 3,975 words with a sick stomach (figuratively speaking), and it turns out what caused my nausea was the end of the chapter. The beginning was rich and had me at my seat, but then the excitement started to dwindle in the middle, where the end did not deliver what the highest point a novel should give. In fairness, I thought my problem was the first few paragraphs but that was because I could not recognize which was the weaker scene, so to guide you:  

  • Separate your chapter in half.
  • If the climax is more than a chapter long, outline each scene.
  • Is your character suddenly making choices than he/she would not normally do? Add validity to that reason so it will make sense.
  • Outlandish actions can lead to cheesy or predictable scenes, so don’t depend on the element of surprise.
  • How do you get rid of stains? You rinse and repeat, keep editing, keep asking for feedback, and don’t give up.

Is Your Chapter Worth It?

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).

Final Thoughts

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.