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The flow of useful tips on instant improvements for writing seems to never end, and today I’ve got yet another piece of advice for you. I consider it to be one of the most useful ones, although its effects may remain unnoticed unless an attentive reader of yours asks themselves something like, “Wait, and what about that dude from the third chapter?”
What I am talking about is what I call “rounding ends.” It’s a technique that implies you finishing what you’ve started. Or on the other hand, not introducing anything you won’t use later. Although I am sure not too many authors consider doing this, I am sure it’s an important thing for a writer: to not tolerate loose ends.
If you have introduced a secondary character in one of your chapters, make him or her appear again at least once, so readers can see or understand what happened to this person. Even if your only intention for this character to appear was to liven up the atmosphere, do not forget about him or her. Make this character do something, perform a function, complete an action, or say something before you chalk them out of your story. It does not need to be something plot-defining.
The same refers to events. When something happens, it should have effects; or could be referred to by different characters: this particular technique helps to create a feeling of how everything in your story is interconnected. For example, character X may have suffered an accident, and character Y (unfamiliar with X) reads about this accident in a newspaper the next morning.
You don’t need to arrange “epic comebacks” for such characters or events; like, if you introduce a guy in chapter three, don’t wait until chapter 13 to remind readers of him again. You can start and end such minor storylines within the same chapter, but make sure you do it. You don’t need your story to be stuffed with useless mannequins (the same refers to events as well, don’t forget).
When I read something like, “John parked his antique Thunderbird and stepped out of it, leaving the door open. He saw a beautiful woman approaching him in the dusty light of the Arizona sunset; together, they walked the empty road to the east, and blah-blah-blah,” I may have a question: “Hey, and what happened to that expensive car?”
And if you have the answer, you truly are a good writer.
Have fun writing!
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