Are you trying to do too much in your story?

It can seem like more is more, right? 

More jump scares and explosions, more gore, more sex, more genre-crossing, more creatures, more zany situations, and wacky characters! 

Add in All The Things if you want your story to get noticed! 

A colleague shared this book blurb recently, and I think it perfectly encompasses this thinking:

Wow, right? 

There is a lot going on in this book, and for the life of me, I don't know what it is! 

Vampire demons, ISIS, cowboys, chefs, time travel, romance - these are all big flashing lights hoping to attract readers like moths to a flame. 

To me, this raises a big red flag. A well-written story, one that lingers in readers' minds long after they've finished, delves so much deeper than these flashy lights!

To be clear, I might hate-read this book if only to see how this author justifies this craziness. But I'm certain I would not enjoy it. 

And I definitely would not pay for it. 

I recently saw the movie, Talk To Me (highly recommend for horror fans!). 

On the surface, it's a simple retelling of the 'communicating with the spirit world' trope. 

But what sets this story apart isn't the abundance of jump scares and gore. It's not the object that opens the door to the other side (just a plaster hand). Without giving away too much, what distinguishes this story is a simple POINT about the seductive relationship between addiction and grief. A relatable, succinct, universal point told in a fresh way within a familiar genre. 

No bells and whistles needed. (And while the performances were stellar, the script's strength lies in its simplicity and strong point.)

Are you clear on your story point, or do you rely on bells and whistles to make your story interesting? 

Looking for a fast and easy way to craft a broad story structure?

Love this content? 
Subscribe to The Story Guide Dispatch for more!

Find Story Guide 
on Instagram


Leave a Comment