Editing Tip Tuesday

Courtesy of Flckr Creative Commons

It’s all in the details.

Recently, I was asked a question by a prespective client. How do you write the conflict if you don’t know the details?

She meant details like crashing a computer program. Or let’s say your character needs to set a barn on fire or your character drives a race car. The problem is you don’t know how to do any of those things. How do you write the scene without this knowledge? How can you create conflict?


In a first draft, you can write whatever you want because no one should ever see your first draft. So, if you don’t know how to crash a computer program, but you know your character needs to in order to stop someone, get caught by someone else or save the day, all you have to write in that first draft is CRASHES COMPUTER PROGRAM. I do recommend using caps. When you go back through for edits the caps will instantly remind you that you need to further investigate.

Don’t let your lack of knowledge slow your progress. It’s important to keep moving forward. Get the words on the page. You can go back and fix things later. It’s not important in the first draft to know how to set the barn on fire. It’s just important to see it burn.

If you’re having trouble creating any conflict to put your characters in, then you need to spend more time getting to know their backstory. If you don’t know your characters, you won’t know what kind of decisions they’re going to make, what would give them that sick feeling in their bellies and what makes them twitch. Similarly, we want to know what would make them happy so they have a goal for the story. But remember, don’t give them that goal until the end.

Any questions?



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