Aah, chapter 40, now chapter 38, once 5 pages, now only half a page in-progress…
All through this story, I’ve been trying to squeeze in a particular subplot–not because it works organically with my story, but because it’s such a cool idea, and it makes me feel clever. So I’ve been adding lines here and there–lines that might as well be typed in red font because they flash like warning signs. Warning, warning–this doesn’t belong!
Did I delete those lines? No. I added more. I padded sentences and plot lines, building little nests around this subplot. Later in the story I dedicate two entire chapters to the subplot. I might as well run outside, yank down the stop sign on the corner and shove it into my manuscript.
What convinced me that I truly needed to abandon my ever-so-clever subplot? The huge info dump on pages 153-158. A minor character who only exists to service said subplot appears out of nowhere and says, “let me explain X to you.” And I let him talk for paragraphs. Oh, sure, I break up the dialogue with some lovely actions, etc. But I’m still doing an info dump–because the subplot simply doesn’t fit, naturally, organically, compellingly, or anything-ly into my story.
So today I’m finally deleting it. No more random lines here and there. No more minor character with no other purpose. Knock. Knock. I’m here to stop the flow of your story. No more extra chapters. And no more info dump!
Things that belong in stories have a way of weaving through the various plots with ease. Characters automatically want to talk about them, great action results from them, consequences flow easily from them… Watch those info dumps. Usually something more than poor writing is going on.