I’ve ‘completed’ three novels – a thriller, a coming-of-age story, and a mystery. I’ve had expert readers for all three including Sue Grafton who read two of them. All the expert readers have the same reaction. Sue’s, at the halfway point, was ‘We need to find you a good agent.’ By the time she reached the end, it was, ‘Hmmm. Back to the drawing board.’
To be more explicit, the comments tend to be: excellent writing and excellent start, but then, as the story draws to a close, the structure and plot begin to shake. There is a set of problems here I struggle with. I’ll ask about the two obvious ones:
How can I develop a lightweight structure from the beginning of a project that I can write to?
How can I revise effectively after writing myself into a corner?
Are there tools you use, like spreadsheets, outlines, note cards?