Strategies for Adding Depth to your Novel
Anonymous asked, “I’m planning my story and I’ve actually already done the basic parts, like characters, settings and plot, but I want to add more too it. Like, I have things that need to happen, a page for word count and progress, and I write down tips and research but I want to do more. Could you help me? Any tips?
It sounds to me like you are looking for something a number of friends of mine call “discovery.” These are the moments where your story comes alive, your characters do things you didn’t know they could do, they end up being much deeper than you’d imagined from the outset. There are a few things you can do to try to spark this.
- Dwell in a scene longer than you need to. While you may know what happens next, linger a little longer (and you may end up getting rid of this extra writing) and just give the characters things to talk about. Get them to open up about things that may or may not be relevant. You may end up seeing something in a character you hadn’t thought of that will tie nicely into the plot or you might get a main character to open up about some inner desire that they hadn’t previously had the opportunity to express. (For instance, it never was relevant in the 7 book series of Harry Potter to mention Harry’s fear of pigeons. Came up in the play though and shocked us all! But more seriously, there could be some deeper element of the character that hadn’t come up and could bring something more to your story.) Be open to anything. You won’t know what’s an important theme until you’re editing later.