I’ve spent the last week trying to rework an old story, hoping to figure out what’s missing, why this story doesn’t read as well as I want it to.
First of all, I’m so happy to see how much better a writer I am now. When I wrote this middle grade novel, I thought I was brilliant, ready to hit the big time, thank you very much. How wrong I was. The funny thing is, now that I’ve learned so much, I’m realizing how much more I still need to learn. Will I ever get to a point where I feel like I’ve mastered this writing thing?
I needed some inspiration, some guidance, so I started watching all the Plot Whisperer videos (again!) and the sixth one struck a chord with me. According to Martha Alderson (The Plot Whisperer), the purpose of the subplot is to reinforce the main plot, to provide further depth and give more meaning to the story. As she said those words, I realized that was part of my problem. Not enough subplot, not enough depth, no apparent theme.
I also pulled out my Save the Cat! Beat Sheet, tried to make the turning points more clear and do a better lead up to the catalyst moment in the story.
Between Martha and Blake, I think I might be able to whip this story into shape. Because I’m not ready to give up on it. Not yet.
After all, how do you know when it’s time to shove a story under the bed and never look at it again? Is there any hope for a shelved novel?