Cause and Effect is Your Friend

I have been working with authors for a while now.  One of my favorite things to do is a manuscript review.  Lots of coaches don’t like doing them, but I love getting the complete picture of the work so we can take it apart and figure out how to put it together in revision that will make it a wonderful novel.

One of the most common issues authors have is a break down in the cause and effect chain of their novel.  It becomes a series of events.  This happens and then this happens, and then this happens. Once you  have a draft and you are looking at it, think about how your main character will move through the story and experience character growth.  Each action/decision needs to CAUSE what will happen next. If you take this down even further, in each scene, there should also be a cause and effect chain.  Something happens in a scene that causes something else, that leads to conflict, then resolution.  It happens over and over again in a novel, both on a micro and a macro level.  

One of the quickest ways to check yourself on this is to write your novel synopsis.  If you can write a synopsis in which each plot point logically leads to what happens next, you probably have a pretty good chain of cause and effect.  If you can’t or if it falls apart after the first 10% of the book, it may be time to have a rethink.

Reach out if you think a Manuscript Review might be just the thing you need to get your novel on track this year. You can sign up to chat with me about your book.

Published by Robin Henry

Independent Scholar and Book Coach specializing in Historical Fiction and Literary Fan Fiction.

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