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Don't Be Afraid to Let Something Die to Bring Your Book to Life


Many people like the colors of autumn. They enjoy the vivid reds, yellows and oranges. Some people also like the purple and black associated with Halloween. I am not one of those people. I don't like fall for two reasons. It means that we are at the end of the year, and the vivid colors means things are dying. I prefer the colors of spring: yellows, light purple, white, pink, light green, etc. They are the colors of new life. However, I do know that things have to die to produce new life. And, you should use this metaphor in your writing. Let it die to bring the work to life again. What do I mean? Continue reading.

  1. Characters – Sometimes, characters have to die even if you like them. To move the story and make it flow, you might have to kill a character. In my first novel, The 1776 Scroll of Secrets, no one was killed even the villain. However, in The 1776 Bed and Breakfast, the villains were killed, but I also killed Buck's (the main character) mother. She had to die so I could show Buck's sensitive side and to have a reason for Buck to stay with Angel at her inn. In The 1776 Musket, a bomb killed a number of characters, but the significant one was Professor Dickenson because that allowed Sol to become a professor and cause tension with him and Lynn. If you write nonfiction, you might have to talk about a death that is important to the research or theme of your book.

  2. Plot – Don't be afraid to kill a plot if it isn't working. I reworked the plot of The 1776 Bed and Breakfast a number of times. I would write 10 chapters and stop. I wouldn't get past chapter 10, so I would start again with a different plot. Eventually, I found a plot that worked, and I was able to finish the book. If I wasn't willing to kill my first few plots, I wouldn't have produced the novel. In nonfiction, it might be the way you organize the book that isn't working. Kill the organization and try again.

  3. Word Counts – Books that are too long will not be attracted to agents or publishers. You have to be willing to kill scenes and word counts to ensure you have a good book. Take a hatchet to parts that are not working or slow the story. Killing these sections will move your story and bring it to life again. It will flow more effectively too.

  4. Outlines – In nonfiction, your outline directs where you want to take the story. However, in some cases, the outline is not correct. The outline bogs down the reader so he or she loses interest or it bogs down the writer so he or she doesn't want to complete the work. You should kill the outline and rewrite it. A new outline and direction might be the new life you want to put into your work.

  5. Marketing Plans – Marketing continues to evolve as new things become important. You want to edit your marketing plan regularly. Kill the parts of the marketing plan that aren't working to bring new life to other parts of your marketing plan. Come up with new ideas that will spark new life for your book.


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