Radical revision: four ways to blow up and rebuild your novel

When your ideas stall or you’ve written yourself into a corner, maybe it’s time to do something radical to shake things up and revise your book.

You’re stuck. Something about your book just isn’t working, but you’re not quite sure what it is.Time for drastic measures.

Yes, you could tinker away at the sentence level or rearrange a few chapters here and there — but why not GO EXTREME!? At this point you’ve got nothing to lose.

You can always return to your original stinker of a draft if these attempts at radical revision fail, right? So yeah; you’re totally safe to play around and get your hands dirty.

Here are four things to try when your manuscript feels like it’s falling flat

  1. Combine characters
    Maybe you’re asking your readers (and yourself) to invest in too many characters at once. Instead, combine multiple people into a single (more) complex and (more) compelling character.

For instance, let’s say you’re telling the story of two sisters who inherited the family restaurant after their mother died. One sister is a free-spirited jazz saxophonist. The other is quiet, dutiful, and resentful of the other sister. Well, we all know how that’s going to play out!

Instead, try telling the story of an only child who feels an obligation to keep the restaurant going because there’s no one else to do it – but who resents this familial duty because it seems like a roadblock to her own goals and passions.

Suddenly all the psychic drama can occur within one person, and we can invest everything in following her struggle.

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