Breaking Points: Looking for Weak Spots in Your Fiction Story - article

When looking for weak spots in your stories, the ability to patch them up quickly and easily is more available in fiction than when you are writing about historical or non-fictional events. That’s because in fiction you have a creative license to rewrite the events taking place, unlike when you’re dealing with fact-based accounts.

If there are any rules when it comes to fiction writing, they’d have to include creating as complete a world as possible, and making sure that this world is written in language your readers and fans understand. In order to truly evaluate how well you've done, share your work with someone who reads in your particular genre. Ask if the characters seem lifelike from their physical appearances to their personalities. Are they relatable? Do they seem too perfect or maybe uninteresting… or are they dynamic and realistic? The same goes for your plot. Ask them if there any parts where they got lost or confused. Did the flow of events make sense? Was it easy to follow the variety of storylines?

Next ask about settings and your timeline. These must be clear to your reader. Confusing them will not only show a lack of planning but will take them out of that special moment where they’re engulfed in your world. Study how you've put your story together. Does it flow from one scene to the next? Does it grab your audience right from the first page?

Do not leave any dangling characters or facts unless you’ve planned to do so. This is especially true if they have no real purpose in the story. If you thought something was interesting at first but it never manifests, take it out before it leads to any doubts or confusion.
Aside from having the privilege of someone reading your work, which can be hard to get, you can reread it yourself and answer some evaluative questions from an objective standpoint. Here’s a quick list of questions to keep in mind as you run through your storyline while developing it or upon completion when you are re-reading it for quality.

1. Beginning: Do you hook the reader immediately into the action?
2. Middle: Does your rising action add conflict and build relentlessly to the crisis?
3. End: Is the climax big and believable for your genre?
4. Have you chosen an appropriate setting that suits your genre and adds to the plot?
5. Are you “showing” instead of “telling” with your descriptions and using as many senses as appropriate?
6. Are the descriptions delivered in readable bursts and not running on for paragraphs?
7. Have you clearly established who your protagonist is?
8. Have you clearly established who your antagonist is?
9. Have you created minor, but important, characters to support your leads?
10. Do your plot, characters and setting work with each other cohesively as one unit?

Use the answers to these questions to guide you. Don’t be afraid of making the wrong decisions when it comes to your story because it is, after all, your story. By trusting yourself and your instincts, no one will be disappointed, especially you.

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