Mountain Dew is one of my favorite kinds of decadence. Is it any wonder I’m a Romantic Suspense writer? Probably not. It’s the same reason I love roller coasters and action movies. Fast, with a twist of heart pounding.
But what happens when your pop has lost it’s fizz? You throw it in the trash, dump it down the sink or water your least favorite plant. No matter how you get rid of it, that is the definite goal.
Pop loses it’s fizz when it’s left out too long, or in the fridge open. Our books can lose their fizz too, kind of like pop.
Ways your book can lose its fizz:
Drawing It Out Too Long. Just like pop, a story loses its fizz when we leave it out too long. If you draw out one section of the story too much, dwelling on one tension point too long, then it is weighed down. We are focused on the problem, but so intensely that the plot quits moving forward.
*Add a twist or surprise to the section of the story that is dragging. An unexpected nugget of truth or something the reader is not expecting
*Add another disappointment or setback in that section, so that the focus is on multiple problems and not just one.
*Deepen the danger or tension. If it is a suspense, bring the villain in close to the characters without them even knowing it. If it is romance, bring in a well meaning person that makes things more complicated.
Releasing The Pressure. Pop loses its fizz when the pressure of the sealed can is released. It is the same in our novels. When we resolve too many of the tension points, the story falls flat.
*Add a new danger or conflict that will bring tension to the story. This can come from the outside edges of the story as well. For example, you find out the killer has an accomplice. Or, an old flame is coming back to town.
*Add a personal crisis. The heroine finds out she can’t have children which the hero loves, a new family member is threatened by the villain, a mother suffers a heart attack, you have been left a beneficiary in a will which takes you away unexpectedly, etc.
What are some ways that you cure the flat novel syndrome?