While writing my upcoming Suspense novel, this is what I kept in mind: Make the reader want to turn that page. Make them want to know what happens next. Keep them wondering, and guessing.
You’d think that, in action scenes at least, that would mean get to the point, and move it along. Cut to the chase.
Well…yes and no.
Sometimes it does mean that – but not just in action scenes. In dialogue scenes and descriptions, my primary and continual goal was to move the plot forward, and to leave out anything that didn’t. Sometimes things moved quickly. But in some places, the idea was to move things along steadily – or somewhere between steadily and quickly.
Advance readers told me that – Yay! – this novel* IS a page-turner! But in working with my editor, I realized that one of the many things I needed to accomplish in revisions was to cut out unnecessary content.
Basically, to cut to the chase. So, I (painfully) cut some things: if it wasn’t intriguing and/or necessary, it had to go.
[On the other hand, I had to (also painfully) add some scenes, tweak others and make several changes, which I did. But it was only painful at first; once I decided to get going, I dove in and kept on swimming.**]
Having spent time last week with lots of people who seem to encourage cutting to the chase when telling stories, it seemed appropriate that that was one of the things I was doing during my final revision to the book, whenever I had the time to work on it.
A different kind of “cut to the chase”:
What to do with what I had so carefully written, that now had to be removed? When I talked to my editor, she suggested that I save them and use them in upcoming blogposts, to show what might have been, kind of like “deleted scenes” in movies.
Perhaps. If it makes you wonder, and guess.* The (one-word) title of which will be revealed in an upcoming post ** This (necessary) paragraph provides two clues to the aforesaid title; your guesses are welcome