Editing Your Sequel – Step 3

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

Welcome to my blog series on how to edit your sequel. If you’re new to the series, you can catch up on Step 1 and Step 2 by clicking their links. For those of you who are caught up, let’s dive into Step 3 – Identifying key themes and flaws



You’ve finally made it! Today is the day you get to open up your draft novel again ad start the hands on editing process. This week’s step comes with a few key ingredients you’ll need before you get started:

  1. A copy of your manuscript printed one-sided
  2. At least 4 different coloured markers – I love using Prismacolor dual-ended markers

Okay, let’s get into it.

The focus of step three is all strategic. We want to look at the big picture. That said, sometimes you’ll be reading and find a typo or turn of phrase that you can’t just let lie. I’m not some kind of editing guru nazi, I know that some itches need scratching – hence the four colours.

Colour 1 (I use green) – This is your theme identification colour, where you point out the major underlying themes emerging from your story (we’ll get to this later)

Colour 2 (I use blue) – This is your plot intrigues colour, where you highlight questions or points of interest that crop up in the manuscript and need to be resolved at some point during the story (more on this later).

Colour 3 (I use orange) – This is your copy editing colour, for things like “show don’t tell”, “maybe out of position, move to later in the chapter”, “check consistency of description in later chapters”, “would she really say this?”

Colour 4 (I use red) – This is your proofreading colour. Use it sparingly at this stage! For your ‘I can not move on from this dangling modifier!’ or ‘this word really needs to be this much better word!’ moments.


Now that we’ve covered the rules – let’s get reading. Try to centre yourself as a reader (letting your draft rest for a couple of weeks will have helped this endeavour) and pick up your Colour 3 marker (because we all know it’s the ‘huh?’/’this needs work’ observations that will be easier to spot initially).

Keep your eye out for plot intrigues – in mysteries, they are the red herrings; in romance, they are the flirtations and hinted tensions; in scifi and fantasy, they are the unique world-building aspects; and in ALL novels, they are the hints of character and plot development – promises of future awesomeness to come.

At the end of each scene or chapter, reflect on the big ticket items. What major themes are emerging? For example, in the sequel to Resistance, my first two chapters identified the following key themes:

  • Anaiya not fighting her dual identity, but embracing it
  • Anaiya’s pervasive guilt and need/desire for redemption
  • Kane’s lessons (from the past and beyond the grave)
  • Impact of new relationship dynamics (due to events of Book 1)

As I continued editing Book 2, I noted the repetition of these themes and emergence of others. Halfway through this process I have a list of around 15 key themes that I can track throughout the novel – noting where they appear, how frequently, whether they escalate (or de-escalate, or stay the same), and how they manifest in plot and character arcs.

Sometimes you will find themes that don’t really go anywhere – that appear weak and unrelated to the others. These are your red flags – rework, rewrite, eliminate. Sometimes you will find themes that jump out as critical – the driving forces of your plot and character. These are also red flags – but good ones! – ramp these up, ensure they are clear and emotionally charged and central to the story.

Happy editing!


Image by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist on Unsplash



You can grab your own copy of Resistance (Divided Elements #1) to read now. Available as a paperback or ebook on your favourite device. Just click to start reading!



Editing Your Sequel – Step 3

Editing your sequel – Step 2

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

Recently, I wrote about my experience in drafting the sequel to my debut science fiction novel, Resistance (Divided Elements #1)and promised to share my upcoming experiences in editing said sequel. Last week was Step 1 – Reviewing Book 1. Which brings us to Step 2 – Seeing your strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of your readers.



You’re probably champing at the bit to actually rip into your draft manuscript, but trust me – it still needs more resting time. Going back in to a work in progress too soon after typing ‘the end’ can be like trying to reflect on a relationship a week after the break-up: All you’re going to get are hot, messy tears or a rose-tinted view of the belle epoque (neither of which are helpful).

If you’re like me, you’ll be spending this time working on completely unrelated projects – the half-drafted Nano project from two years back that you’ve been holding out on, various short stories for upcoming competitions, beta reading for crit partners, etc. If you’re not doing these things, you should seriously consider them. At the very least, bury yourself in an amazing book that can act as you ‘palate cleanser’, benchmark and inspiration when it finally comes time to review your own novel.

So, while waiting for our WIPs to get to room temperature, it’s time to kick off Step 2 – Seing your work like your readers do.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the challenges and advantages of writing Book 2. One of the advantages I neglected to mention was having the benefit of third party reviews – from crit partners, beta readers, ARC reviewers, and book reviewers.

Getting feedback about your writing style, your plotting, your characters, your world-building – it all adds up to a more refined blueprint for making your second book shine. When you write your first book, you send it off for publication not knowing how readers will respond or engage. With your second book, that uncertainty is not as all-encompassing.


For those of you playing along at home, this is what I did:

  1. Take out your notebook or open up a new word or excel document – anything you can divide a page into 2 columns. Title the first column “Positive” and the second column “Negative.”
  2. Go to the Amazon and Goodreads pages of Book 1.
  3. Take a deep breath (you’ll need it) and start by filtering for 1* and/or 2* reviews. If you’re lucky enough not to have these, start with your 3*.
  4. Ease the pain by looking for the good amongst the review – even ‘bad’ reviews usually have something positive to say. When you find something good, write it down in the “Positive column”. Where multiple readers raise the same thing, underline/highlight/bold the entry.
  5. If you have less than 100 reviews, repeat step 4 for all them. If you have more, consider doing a dip sample from each of the rating categories.
  6. Now go back and look for the negative points. Write them down – but maybe not verbatim. Bad reviews tend to be full of emotion. Strip that away and get to the core of what the review is telling you – e.g. “All humans have a ‘lifeline’ that plugs into things. All I could think of was [a] silly looking plug-in device. I actually giggled each time it was referenced or used even if it was a serious moment” (yes, that was written in the 1* review for Resistance. sigh.) becomes “lack of understanding about / poor characterisation of world-building technology “.


These lists of things – of what your readers loved/were fascinated by/engaged with and what they hated/were turned off by/didn’t understand – become your touchpoints as you edit. The entries become the red flags for things you need to either a) incorporate more strongly or b) consider removing/reframing.

Here’s a snapshot of my list to get you started:

·       Original world-building

·       Dark tone that built tension

·       Great character development

·       Thought-provoking

·       Too philosophical

·       Didn’t like the main character

·       Didn’t understand the technology or mechanics of population control


Interestingly, of the three negative points listed, I’ll only address one: the lack of understanding about the world-building mechanics. The other two – character likeability and philosophical bent – won’t change. And that’s the thing with reviews – sometimes they just come from readers who didn’t like your book and not because your book was poorly written.

Remember, you’re not trying to please everyone. You want to engage the readers who want to love your story. Remove the obstacles for that love, but don’t try to write the book they wish they could have written.

What about you? What critiques or reviews have been left about your first book that you will incorporating in your Book 2 edits? Let me know in the comments!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash




You can grab your own copy of Resistance (Divided Elements #1) to read now. Available as a paperback or ebook on your favourite device. Just click to start reading!



Editing your sequel – Step 2

Editing your sequel – Step 1

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

Recently, I wrote about my experience in drafting the sequel to my debut science fiction novel, Resistance (Divided Elements #1)and promised to share my upcoming experiences in editing said sequel.

So, here it goes – a look into Week One of my editing process.




I haven’t read Resistance since I did the final check prior to publication. Crazy right?

Part of that was because I was terrified that I would read it and hate it; effectively caught in a writer’s purgatory where you hate the words but can’t take them back. But it was also because I had no time to read – my TBR pile of books on my bedside table is already its own Jenga stack and everytime I opened a page I would always feel guilty that I wasn’t writing words instead.

So, last week I sat down and read Resistance. Read it in two days. And (happily) I loved it (and hope I can do it justice with Book 2).

But it wasn’t all recreational reading. I had a purpose here – actually, I had two:

  • Identify the unresolved or hinted plot intrigues
  • Create a first-pass style list of key terms, phrases and spelling conventions


For those of you playing along at home, this is what I did:

i. Took a deep breath and opened to page one

ii. Read the dedication and reminded myself why I was doing this

iii. Read the first chapter as a reader – no pen in hand, no keyboard in reach

iv. After the initial read-through, wrote down all the plot intrigues – all those hints of conflict, the developing complexities, the world-building points of interest.

I can be pretty left-brain at times, so I used a spreadsheet: the first column for the chapter number, the second for the plot intrigue, and the third for whether it was resolved by the end of the book (fully, partly, not-at-all).

For example, in chapter 4 we see Anaiya (the protagonist) playing a time-wasting / tactical-sharpening game on her wristplate. The game is faintly reminiscent of Solitaire. It was a nod to the retro days, but it was also a reminder that not all technology is ‘new’ in the future. It’s the 21st century and I still use a strangely shaped piece of metal with a fine-toothed wheel to open cans, I still use a metal key to open my front door, I still check the mailbox to find paper letters from companies who want my money, and I still occasionally use tiny rounds of copper and nickel to pay for paper movie tickets. All this in a world where space travel is commonplace, libraries of information can fit into a portable drive smaller than my hand, and video-conversations can happen in real-time with multiple people on the other side of the world.

I touch on the concept a little in Book 1, but it’s such an interesting concept to me, that I think I will elevate it in Book 2.

v. Read the chapter again, focusing on the ‘mechanics’. Again, all this was captured in a spreadsheet, but for this step I used multiple tabs –  one each for character descriptions, location profiles, unique terms, capitalised terms, turns of phrase, spelling conventions, timeline milestones, etc, etc.

This is where you should pick up on things like which words you capitalise or hyphenate and which ones you don’t, e.g. rundown or run-down, the Emancipation or The Emancipation.

More important are the character, location and story-specific nouns. The last thing you want is a diminutive character in Book 1 becoming tall and imposing in Book 2 (unless that’s the sort of sci-fi you are spinning).

Sci-fi and Fantasy have it tougher than most. I can’t tell you how many made-up and manipulated terms I have for things like plastics and metals or city infrastructure. Keep track of them and their descriptions and write it all down.

The list of your character descriptions is also useful because it doubles as a character list – use them! Don’t invent new characters for Book 2 if a supporting (or cameo) character can do the job.

vi. Repeated step 4 and 5 for the subsequent chapters (not forgetting to go back and update whether a plot intrigue has been resolved).

vii. Closed the book, sighed a happy sigh, started planning for the next stage of edits.


What about you? Are you going through the editing process as well? What other steps do you walk through in your approach? Let me know in the comments!

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash




You can grab your own copy of Resistance (Divided Elements #1) to read now. Available as a paperback or ebook on your favourite device. Just click to start reading!



Editing your sequel – Step 1

Insert Break – when to start a new paragraph, scene, or chapter

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

When I first started writing seriously, I was surprised at how I suddenly started to second-guess myself about the most basic things. I found myself googling “What is a sentence?” and “When should you start a new chapter?” I was worried that the chunks of text that made up my story were too long, or too brief, or too convoluted, or too sparse.

Breaks are important. They create ‘white space’ – breathing points for the brain that reduce cognitive load.

There’s a lot of great stuff out there on the internet on cognitive load if you want more detail, but – to put it simply – cognitive load is the equivalent of asking you to carry 100kg in one trip or 10kg in ten trips. It’s the reason long number sequences, like phone numbers or credit card numbers, are written as smaller groups of numbers with spaces. Or why you can’t remember the order of the planets but can remember ‘My very educated mother just showed us nine planets’ (back in the day when there were nine planets…Ah, good times).

So, yes, breaks are important. But, just as important, is where you put those breaks.

You don’t want to just go

ahead and p

ut them anywhere.

(See what I did there? 🙂 )

Jamming some white space in a block of text just to free it up is a bad idea. At best, it’s mildly irritating, at worst it is confusing and exasperating. That’s because white space lessens cognitive load by separating and grouping elements into things that belong together and things that don’t.

Categorising is something we humans learn as early as eight months old. It is something we are conditioned to do – forks go together in that space, cutlery goes in that drawer, pants get hanged, jumpers get folded, white wine goes in the fridge, red wine goes in my glass, thank you very much 🙂

Humans love to categorise – we categorise everything from the smallest atom to the largest solar system. It can help us (when understanding why that crocodile is laying an egg instead of giving birth to live young) or can hinder us (when making us racist bigots because all we see is how that person or group of persons is different to us). We do it, because it helps us to identify and focus on something, it gives that element clear dimensions, which in turn allows us to understand how it is related to other elements.

Take the work of Ursus Wehrli, who ‘tidies up’ things:

Ursus Wehril

The picture of the left is chaotic with no white-space (because the textural depiction of the sand makes it a dynamic element of the picture, not just a passive background). Where do you focus? What is the story?

Now look at the picture on the right. It amazes me the physiological sigh of relief my eyes and brain take when I look at that picture. My whole body seems to relax when I move from the one on the left to the one on the right. Because I get it. I understand it. I can move my attention to parts of the picture and study each element in turn. Because the elements have been separated and grouped.

In the picture on the right, they have been grouped by function/shape. They could have just as easily been grouped into colour and I would have the same reaction.

What’s interesting about the picture on the right (to me at least), is that not everything has been tidied up. While the elements have been separated into columns based on function/shape, and the columns themselves are arranged from top to bottom in increasing size, there is still some ‘creative chaos’ in play. All the yellow buckets haven’t been grouped together. All the spades with circular/closed handles haven’t been grouped together. The columns aren’t arranged from tallest to smallest.

The marriage of structure and creativity is important – because as writers or artists, we need to be creative. As I’ve written before, the relationship between art and science doesn’t have to be antagonist. It can be symbiotic. The maths behind the music. The chemistry behind the colours. The structure behind the words.

So, for me, ‘tidying up’ a written work is all about introducing white space or breaks that separate out particular elements to increase reader focus on them.

Instead of a wall of text, I choose to insert breaks between sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters, and acts to ensure they contain one single element of focus:

  • One idea per sentence; e.g. Joan walked the dog around the block. (Joan is walking a dog)
  • Once concept per paragraph; e.g.Joan walked the dog around the block. The terrier was massive, its muscular body taut and heaving with barely-restrained energy. It occasionally growled, a low guttural sound that left Joan shivering despite the afternoon heat. (The dog is big and scary)
  • One situation per scene; e.g. (The dog bites a small child)
  • One conflict & consequence per chapter; e.g. (Joan is ordered to destroy the dog, the last link she has with her long-estranged and now deceased father)
  • One value transition per act; e.g. (Joan loses all tangible connection with her deceased father, goes from saddened at his loss to distraught that she has nothing that links him to her).

I’ll go into more detail about these breaks in future blog posts, but, for now, it is enough to recognise they each contain just one element and that each element is more complex than the one preceding it.

Yes, it is a hierarchy – the values range from basic to complicated and are interrelated: Every sentence in a paragraph must work to generate or clarify the concept of that paragraph; each paragraph must give colour and meaning to the scene’s situation; each scene must trigger and rationalise the chapter’s conflict and consequence; and each chapter must set up the various stages of the act’s transition.

What about you? Does a bit of structure help you to draft or edit your WIPs?

Insert Break – when to start a new paragraph, scene, or chapter

Critique Enlightenment – What you can learn from critiques of your creative work

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

My debut adult sci-fi novel, Divided Elements, is currently going through its final pass by my critique partners before it gets shipped off to the copyeditor. (Yes, it turns out that I still love this manuscript and we are finally ‘tying the knot’). Getting your creative work critiqued by an objective outsider, while crucial for elevating the work to its maximum potential, is never easy. For insecure writers, critiques can lead to wholesale changes. For stubborn writers, critiques can trigger lots of defensive replies about why their work doesn’t need changes. So, which response is the correct one?

A recent blog post by a fellow CP, Angela Sylvia, got me thinking about this and here is what I have come up with:

For every critique I receive, I have one of three reactions:

  • The lightbulb moment, where I say to myself “How did I miss that? (despite the seven times I’ve already re-read it!)”
  • The dig my heels in moment, where I say to myself “Nope, you just don’t get it”.
  • The let’s agree to disagree moment, where I say to myself “This is more about you as a reader, than the writing itself”.

The lightbulb moments are great – they are an immediate call to action to fix something you can see is broken (even if it took a critique to reveal it as broken). I tend to find lightbulb moments gravitate towards:

  • Areas I know that I am weak in (e.g. overcomplicated sentences, dialogue tags, adverbs)
  • Areas I have a limited grasp of/exposure to (e.g. dangling modifiers)

When you can recognise your weaknesses, it’s easy to be grateful to critiques that point them out and offer solutions.

The dig my heels in moments usually fit into two categories:

  • Stubborn, obstinate author ego (e.g. “That’s my darling, how dare you demand that I kill it!”
  • Confident author authority (e.g. “I can see this objectively and know that it is right for this scene/chapter/story”)

Correction - Dave Mathis

That being said, it’s hard to know at the time which category my response falls into, which is why I employ these two methods for finding out:

  • Look at other reviews by the critiquer – do you agree with them? do they seem reasonable?
  • Review the critique again in time (usually on the next edit pass) – does it seem more relevant/necessary now?

If the answer is ‘yes’, I then have a begrudging acceptance moment (“Okay, you may have a point”) and enact the required changes – sometimes as suggested, sometimes with my own spin.

If the answer is ‘no’, then I sit back and try to understand the motivation of the critiquer – which inevitably ends up at the let’s agree to disagree moment. I find there are generally three reasons why a person is critical of something:

  1. It legitimately doesn’t work – in which case, you fix it.
  2. They don’t have the skills/expertise to offer accurate critiques (e.g. someone telling you that you need more adverbs in your dialogue tags) – in which case, you run a mile! (Or maybe just ignore that criticism)
  3. They are projecting their preferences, rather than pointing out an issue – in which case, you politely thank them for their suggestion and move on.

The third reason is an interesting one. It reminds me of a point made in the writer’s manifesto of Joanne Harris (author of Chocolat):

… most writers value feedback and dialogue with their readers. But ultimately, a reader’s role is different to that of a writer. And a writer’s role is to try to convey a series of ideas as honestly and as well as we possibly can, with minimal interference, and most of all, without being distracted by heckling from the audience.

The fact is that the writer cannot please everyone all of the time. We shouldn’t even try – fiction, by its nature, should present a challenge. Books allow us to see the world in different ways; to experience things we might never encounter – or wish to – outside the world of fiction… Fiction is often uncomfortable; often unexpected.  Most importantly, fiction is not democratic. It is, at best, a benign dictatorship, in which there can be an infinite number of followers with any number of different ideas, but only ever one leader. Like all good leaders, the writer can (and should) take advice from time to time, but where the actual work is concerned, they, and no-one else, must take final responsibility.

The manifesto was most likely penned after this incident, where Joanne responded to a critical review of her book – labelling it as a “Terrific example of the “if I’d written this book I would have done it differently” review”. Now, I’m not going to get into that whole ‘authors behaving badly’ debacle, because that is just a nuclear bomb waiting to go off (everyone gets so twitchy around that button…) – but I agree with her point – “A review should be about the book you’ve actually read, not the one you wanted to read, or worse, the one you wanted to write.”

Same goes for critiques. Sometimes a reviewer will have an issue with your protagonist’s characterisation, or the tone of your opening chapters, or your word selection, or the pacing, or… (you get my drift). Sometimes these can be legitimate, objective concerns rooted in a solid understanding of best practice. But, sometimes, it can just be what they like as a reader OR how they write as an author.

If they are your target audience, you may wish to listen to them a bit closer,  but never forget that there are two goals in writing a book:

  1. Engaging the reader
  2. Creating something in your unique voice from your unique perspective

Long live the benign dictatorship!

How do you respond to critiques and/or deal with ones you disagree with?


Image courtesy of Dave Mathis via Flickr Creative Commons.


Critique Enlightenment – What you can learn from critiques of your creative work

Reversing Chekhov’s Gun – Why you can’t introduce new information in Act III

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

There is a well-worn narrative principle that often does the rounds in writer’s circles. You would have seen it on Twitter or quoted in blogs and books on writing. Chekhov, the Russian playwright and master of the modern short story, is credited with saying “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”

The principle is often invoked to caution writers against irrelevant details – if it has no impact on the plot, remove it. It is sage advice, but it has a counterpart that is often overlooked – a reversal of the idiom that I would like to phrase as:

If a rifle is going to be fired in the third act, in the first act it absolutely must be hanging on the wall. 


This kind of philosophy harkens back to my school debating days (sigh. remember those? good times.) As the Third Opposition Speaker (which sounds like a key councillor role in a fictional dystopia, but is not), you couldn’t bring up new information – it wasn’t fair to raise new arguments or introduce new concepts that weren’t accessible to the other team for response (and rebuttal).

It’s the same with stories. If you have something major happen in your Third Act, you must introduce it – explicitly or through foreshadowing and hinting – in the First or Second Acts.

Introducing new characters (or other plot devices) too late in the piece is disingenuous. The reader enters the Third Act expecting that everything that is to transpire is a natural progression (likely or unlikely) from the components that have already been built and developed in earlier chapters. Bringing something new in feels like a cheat.

The most common transgression of ‘reverse Chekhov’s gun’ is the much maligned ‘Deus ex Machina’ (which sounds like an awesome futuristic sci fi, but is not (although 2015’s ‘Ex Machina’ deserves a mention…)).

As Wikipedia so eloquently elaborates, Deus ex Machina (literally, God in the Machine) is “a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object.” The internet is full of examples.

But, more subtle transgressions are where minor characters or plot devices that make brief appearances in earlier chapters or Acts, suddenly and inexplicably become crucial elements that are central for tying up the loose ends of Act III.

If you find your story falling into the latter category, fear not! There is a solution (and it is simple):

Go back and add some foreshadowing and hinting in earlier chapters/acts. 

That junior intern that has a whole two lines of overlooked dialogue in that scene jammed into the middle of chapter four? The one that will end up saving the day with her personal rocket launcher project that isn’t even mentioned in the story? Go back and beef up her role. Hint at her ingenuity. Give us a glimpse of that awesome rocket launcher. Let her reappear throughout the story, maybe at the pinch points, or points of high tension. Keep her simmering in the back of our minds, so that her reappearance will be welcome and logical (even if it is a little surprising).


What about you? Have you introduced a Deus ex Machina in your WIP or are you committing a transgression against the reverse Chekhov’s gun? Offload your guilt in the comments… 🙂

Image courtesy of Don Stewart via Flickr Creative Commons


Liked this? Want more?

You can grab your own copy of Resistance (Divided Elements #1) to read now. Available as a paperback or ebook on your favourite device. 




Reversing Chekhov’s Gun – Why you can’t introduce new information in Act III

Troubleshooting a Problematic Chapter: The issue isn’t where you think it is

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

So, I’m still working on this ‘editing journey’ with Divided Elements. It’s not so much a journey of ordered paths and clean lines as it is a 90s mosh pit that spits me in and out and jams me up against a whole slew of obstacles. But, in any case, I’m on it and I’m making some progress.

The hardest part has been writing new scenes to plug plot gaps and/or correct timelines.

This is for a number of reasons:

1) It pulls me out of full editor mode and into a quasi- (and much restrained) creative mode,

2) It demands consistency not only with what came before, but also what comes after, which entails a lot of reading and attention to detail, and

3) It happens in a kind of vacuum, outside of the original flow of writing. It’s not an organic process of creation, with the drafting momentum pushing it along a nice trajectory. It’s forced – a manipulation of a newer puzzle’s piece to fit an older puzzle – a shaving here and snipping there to jam it into place with (hopefully) some finesse that makes it appear seamless.

I’ve struggled with these scenes (hence the angst that’s poking through in the above para). I’ve written each of them close to ten times over. Nothing seemed to be working, no matter how many changes and revisions.

And then I realised that the problem wasn’t in the new scene, it was in the preceding one.

Remember those Bugs Bunny episodes where he would end up in some random place? He would poke his head up, look around, pull out his map and frown in concentration. And then the epiphany would arrive and he would realise his error – he should have taken that left, all the way back in Albuquerque.

It was the same with me. I realised my problem with the troublesome scene wasn’t in the preceding sentence or paragraph. It wasn’t in the scene at all. It came long before that, in my story’s metaphorical ‘Albuquerque’.

So instead of just manipulating the new puzzle piece, I also began to rearrange the older puzzle piece.

I went back to earlier scenes and chapters to add subtext and foreshadowing. I slightly tweaked the trajectory of earlier plotlines to allow a connecting piece that would fit the overall story better.

And it’s working.

So, if you’re in the same problem that I was, ask yourself:

1) What gap are you trying to fill with this new scene/chapter? 

2) What does it need to achieve? 

3) How do earlier scenes/chapters compromise this goal? 

4) How can you alter them to make for a smoother transition to the new scene?

I hope that helps. Good luck and happy writing/editing!

Troubleshooting a Problematic Chapter: The issue isn’t where you think it is