Problems and Solutions

You've written an entire book. Slaved over it, shed tears and spilled blood over it. And it stinks. Don't despair, there are things you can do to fix the problems. If you're willing to admit your baby might have problems.

My story stinks.

Arghhhhh! My story isn't working. What can I do? Relax. There are ways to identify problems and solve them before you decide you're not meant to be a writer.

Things to look for

Compare your story to your synopsis. I used to write my synopsis after I finished the MS. OK, after I thought my MS was finished. Eventually, I noticed that my synopsis often didn't match the story. But when I made the synopsis match the story, then the synopsis was boring too. Uh oh. Then, when I joined a critique group and started judging contests, I noticed that other writers had the same problem. For a while I chalked it up to the fact that a synopsis is so hard to write. I was wrong.

Examine the relationship between the hero and heroine and really analyze why your heroine is shy instead of bold and sassy. Chances are the scenes where she's bold and sassy don't work because, in fact, your hero has qualities that resonate best with a shy heroine.

When your synopsis doesn't match your story, look to the story for the problem, not the synopsis. Identify those differences because they're important clues about what you may need to address in your story. Note: your synopsis isn't going to outright tell you what's wrong. Don't just substitute the synopsis version for the one that's in the story. Just be aware that the differences between the story and the synopsis show you what you need to work on, not necessarily how to solve it.

Example: Let's say your synopsis says your heroine is bold and sassy. But in your story, there are several key scenes where she's actually shy. This doesn't mean you need to change your synopsis to say your heroine is shy. It's quite likely your heroine is inconsistent and you have scenes where your h/h lack chemistry. Your subconscious says shy heroine while your conscious writing keeps working on a story with a bold and sassy heroine, which, in actual fact, your heroine is not. Examine the relationship between the hero and heroine and really analyze why your heroine is shy instead of bold and sassy. Chances are the scenes where she's bold and sassy don't work because, in fact, your hero has qualities that resonate best with a shy heroine.

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