Have your trusted friends or beta readers told you your WIP (work in progress) novel is too long, confusing, or just doesn’t grab them? Here are some typical “big-picture” weaknesses to watch out for in your fiction and correct before publishing it or pitching it to an agent. These types of glaring gaffes in writing, pacing, plot, or structure will bog down your story and invite bad reviews, which could sink your reputation as a novelist. Fortunately, they can all be remedied at the revision and self-editing stages.
~ Overwriting. Not enough self-editing.
Today’s bestselling novels are mostly between 70,000 and 90,000 words long. Unless you’re an absolutely brilliant writer, and experts in the business have told you so, if your manuscript is over 95,000 words long, it definitely needs tightening up. Cut way back on explanations and descriptions, and trim down long, convoluted sentences to their essence. Make every word count.
~ Meandering writing – the main story question / problem is fuzzy or buried.
What’s the protagonist’s main goal and fear, and his main problem? This should be obvious early on and be the overriding driving force behind your whole story. Don’t let it get lost in meandering writing, too much backstory, frequent info dumps, too many characters, too many subplots, and unrelated plot details.
~ One unrelated thing after another happens.