I think my story is too complicated?

by Katy Leavre
(USA)

...Or, at least, I think I may have planned everything way too much. My story was really simple when I was just thinking it, but somehow when I started fleshing it out I made it a lot more complicated. Like I've created way too many details, backstories, and subplots and turns in the story that are just mentioned because the story is focused on only the main group of characters. Like for example, early in the story the main character is given shelter by an old man and a young girl after escaping an asylum, that old man and young girl were originally supposed to be random townspeople but after tweaking out the story the young girl became her lost sister and the old man her supposedly dead dad, who were both watching over the main character during her stint at the asylum. After more tweaking they both also became the grandmasters of basically the entire plot.


Is this kind of a bad thing? How can I know if some details of my story are just a bit too much and unnecessarily complicated? Thank you! :D

Answer: Tying together characters and events that seemed unimportant when they were first introduced is actually a good thing, generally. You might check out the article on Chekhov's Gun, (http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/chekhov.html). As long as the plot moves well and keeps your reader entertained, there's nothing wrong with a few subplots.

Of course, if your manuscript has reached epic length, 150,000 words or so, you may risk making it too long to be publishable, at least as a first novel.

It is, however, much easier to cut material in the revision process than to pad a story that wound up being too short.

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