I recently got a story back for revisions. And believe me, the story needed revisions. There were many problems which I hope I’ve fixed but it was complicated. I had to take the story apart and put it back together. That’s not an easy thing to do.
It made me think of my sister who does complicated knitting designs like this airplane sweater. She can’t change anything in the design without changing the completed picture. If she does, she’ll have a mess. The only way to do it is redesign the whole picture.
Which is basically what I had to do with my story. I had to redesign it so it followed a pattern.
I learned something else, both in my own story and in one I am struggling to read. It’s necessary to have an overall story problem/question but if it doesn’t filter down to each scene, each page, the result is boring. There has to be–as Donald Maass says–fire in the fiction, tension on every page. Thanks to The Donald’s workshop, I saw my mistake. Instead of confronting my characters with challenges, I had them going through their daily lives at a leisurely pace–no racing to get away from something or catch someone, no dodging bullets–literal or figurative, no sudden confrontations with an enemy, no surprises.
I worked hard to unravel the story and knit it together again. I hope it looks as good as this sweater design.