Today was a pretty funny meeting. Unintended innuendo had me laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes. It was also a touching meeting, with our lovely VP taking the time to bolster the confidence of another member. It’s touching to know we’re all in this together, and we’re all determined to make sure that our fellow members have the strength to move on. It was also a monumental meeting as we finally uploaded our latest anthology Darkest Depths (more on that later).
Amongst the hugs, tears, and cheers there was still critiquing though! The takeaway from today’s meeting is a problem that some writers probably wish they had. None the less it can be a story killer. The issue is too many ideas – in one story.
Sometimes (like in the opening chapter this feedback was given to) it’s a case of lots of cool and interesting ideas, but so many of them, in such rapid succession that the reader feels overloaded. Another possibility in the same vein can be a case of several ideas put together that don’t really mesh well.
With the first form, one possible fix is to spread out the ideas so they don’t came so thick and fast. What simply must be included in this scene for readers to understand and be drawn in? What can wait for another scene or even chapter?
The second possible fix is applicable to both forms of the problem. Ask yourself which of the ideas you can’t live without? Which are you most passionate about? Which can the story not survive without? Cut the others. If there’s still too many, go with the answer/s to the last question only.
Don’t be too scared to do this. Removing those ideas doesn’t mean you have to bin them completely. When you’ve finished this story you can write something that might better work with the discarded idea/s.
You know what there’s never too much of though? Awesome short stories. If you’re looking to sate your short story fix consider grabbing a copy of Darkest Depths, our anthology celebrating 20 years of Vision Writers meeting and critiquing.