How did I miss that?

I've had a bit of an aha moment in my writing lately. I love learning more about my craft and although there are some great books out there, most of the time I learn the most from others who are in the same boat as me.
Courtesy Eileen Sanda

I recently sent WIP1 through another round of beta readers. I kept getting comments about scenes that felt unfinished. This was a new one for me as none of my other betas mentioned this before. At first I wasn't really sure what to think. So I asked questions.

Turns out I had several spots where the reader wanted the scene to last a little longer. I have places where I stopped mid-scene. I thought I was being a judicious writer. If the plot movement was complete, I ended the scene and let the reader imagine what happened next. I assumed this was the smart way to keep my writing moving at a fast pace.

Apparently I was only succeeding in irritating my readers. When I explained my reasoning, I got some interesting advice. While the rest of the scene wasn't needed to move the plot forward, I was missing big opportunities to further develop my characters.

What? How in the world have I not noticed this before? It makes me wonder what else I've been missing.

I tend to write sparse first drafts. Probably because I'm so anxious to get the story down that I tend to leave out a lot of the non-plot stuff that makes a reader care about a story. I add it in during revision, but I think I've been stingy with my details.

Time to take another look and see if I have more missed opportunities to develop the story.