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:
- Cut them!
- Use them in a different story
- Tweak them to make an entirely new story
- Use them as an exercise: write a short story or poem based off of one of them
- 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
- Develop them!
- Make them more complex by adding an unforeseen twist
- Give the loose thread to a friend and ask how they would tie thins up
- 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
- 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:
- Make sure your readers know this thread will be continued
- Make sure you have given the readers enough information to believe AND remember
- Make sure your thread is cut off at the right moment – not too soon, not too late
With pen to paper,