Lesson #71: Tips and Tidbits – What To Do With Loose Threads

Have you ever written a story with loose threads? You know: those annoying little plotlines that you started but never “really” finished. I have good news for you! This lesson will focus on how you can edit, revise, and/or eliminate those pesky loose ends.

When it comes to loose threads, you have two options:

  1. Cut them!
    1. Use them in a different story
    2. Tweak them to make an entirely new story
    3. Use them as an exercise: write a short story or poem based off of one of them
    4. Chunk them out “completely.” Don’t do anything with it now or in the foreseeable future; but keep the idea in a journal or notebook. You never know if it will come in handy later on
  2. Develop them!
  3. Make them more complex by adding an unforeseen twist
  4. Give the loose thread to a friend and ask how they would tie thins up
  5. Make a bowl/hat full of plot twists and turns; randomly pick one from the hat/bowl and craft that into the thread (with the aim of tying it up). Use several, if necessary
  6. Make this loose thread a major thread of your plot; think of this loose thread as something you MUST finish (lest the book flail and drown miserably in the depths of literary fiction)

But above all: DO NOT LEAVE LOOSE THREADS. Unless, of course, you are writing a series. In which case, follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Make sure your readers know this thread will be continued
  2. Make sure you have given the readers enough information to believe AND remember
  3. Make sure your thread is cut off at the right moment – not too soon, not too late

With pen to paper,

Kayla Woodhouse

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