Swiss Cheese Stories
Updated: Mar 4
How do you know when your story is ready to be published? How do you know when your readers have everything they need to know to enjoy your plot?
Many authors, whether published or not, are very close to their story lines. You might be, too. You know what your characters look like, how they act and what they want. You can picture the time and setting and weather conditions. You are so familiar with the plot that it’s easy to assume your readers know more than they do.
There are a number of solutions to this problem. The first, and most widely used, is Beta readers: people who know nothing about your story and are willing to read it and note places where they have questions or information is missing. Then, once corrected, it’s wise to fine another Beta reader to make sure you’ve plugged all the holes.
Another method is to print out your story and use different color highlighters to identify qualities that your different characters demonstrate. For example, if your protagonist has a gambling problem, it’s important to show him in casinos and his emotions as he wins and losses. Plus, you should show the impact it has on his family and other parts of his life. Also, look through your dialogue, the setting, his clothing and other unique traits. Your readers should be able to tell which character the story refers to, without naming him.
Keep in mind that the more frequently a special trait appears in your story will tell your readers how important that quality is. Does it foretell the ending or is it a ruse? The suspense will keep your readers engaged.