A Writing Lesson from Knives Out

Last weekend I saw one of the best movies I’ve seen all year: Knives Out.

Seriously, go see it. But finish this email. There are no spoilers. I promise.

What blew me away about the movie is not a single thing is wasted. Every line has significance for the overall plot. Every action has a purpose.

I want to encourage you to make sure your novel is tightly plotted. How do you do that? Well, it requires a lot of groundwork in the beginning. It means that you have to not only have a general outline, but a detailed chapter outline. You have to know where every character is at every moment.

What happens if you have already written the book? Go back through your manuscript and ask yourself this question with every scene: “How does this contribute to the plot?” If you can’t answer the question, cut it.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll have a book that will blow your readers’ minds. Those books are the ones that usually get recommended to other people, which is the point of all this, isn’t it?  

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