Write Your Novel By Leaving Stuff Out

An Angel for the Earl

One of the most important things I’ve learned about writing fiction was how to leave stuff out.

Let’s say you’re writing a murder mystery. Your sleuth is a housewife (bored, naturally :-)). You love your character. Not only is she funny, and caring, she’s also a wonderful stepmother, and wife. Before you know it, you’ve written three chapters of Mrs Sleuth’s life, without any sleuthing.

Even worse, you’re writing a murder mystery, and no one’s died yet.


Don’t panic.

Get back to basics. Firstly, deal with the murder. Who murdered whom? Why?

As I said in Writing Tricks for Mysteries and Thrillers: Start With the Crime:

Focus on the crime, before you start writing a mystery or a thriller

Over the years, I began several mysteries which went nowhere. I got to around page 100 and ran out of gas. Woeful. I created some wonderful, quirky sleuths, and expected that I’d have no trouble writing the books. Wrong.

It was only when I focused on the CRIME, and the killer first, that I managed to write a satisfactory mystery — one which was easy to write, because the spine of the book, the crime, was there.

Without a spine, your book ends up a blob.

In Ms Sleuth’s book, everything not directly to the crime, and to her sleuthing, is left out. Yes, this means that you’ll need to get creative in working in character development and backstory. Other stuff, which isn’t relevant — no matter how much fun you had in writing it — leave it out.

I’ve been reading An Angel for the Earl. Barbara Metzger is wonderful at leaving stuff out.

The book’s an historical romance, and for the duration of the book, the heroine is in a coma. Her spirit is active however. Anything not directly related to the romance is left out. It’s a cute story, and is a real lesson in leaving stuff out of your novel that’s not directly related to what your novel is supposed to be about.

Write Whenever You Want, And Whatever You Want

Easy Write

My Easy-Write “cure” for writing stress and trauma crept up on me.

One day I wondered where the fear had gone… I was amazed. It was GONE; not a trace remained.

I could see how my life had changed as I worked with the Easy-Write process…

Writing had turned into a daily joy. Instead of cowering in bed when I awoke, I leaped out of bed, eager to get to the keyboard. I was happier in everything I did, and everyone around me was happier too.

Along with the joy, came the money. I had to turn clients away. Editors rang me to discuss new projects. Clients put me on retainer.

When I taught the Easy-Write process to my writing students, they achieved great results too — become a confident writer with the Easy Write Process.

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Angela Booth is a top copywriter, multi-published author, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills on her websites. She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.