Monday, September 24, 2012


No, don't let your mind go there, dear readers. This isn't a post about snogging, sheesh!

K.I.S.S. for those who don't know, is translated as Keep It Simple, Stupid… or for me, it's Keep It Simple, (you) Sad, Sad, Stupid, Stupid person!

I first saw this on the lovely Julie Cohen's blog. I remember thinking "I need to tattoo this somewhere prominent" because, even back in 2009, I knew I had the atrocious habit of overcomplicating my plots.

Fast-forward to two months ago when I wrote what I knew deep down was a story that had far too many plot lines to sustain a 50k-word category romance. I mean the manuscript finished at a staggering...wait for it...63k! There was no way I could submit that high a word count to my editor, so I painstakingly trimmed that behemoth down to an equally unacceptable, ahem, 58k…and all without taking out the ridiculous plot lines.

Heh, I wasn't one little bit surprised when my editor sent me revisions with very firm instructions to DE-CLUTTER the story. To give you a hint, at the start of the story my heroine had a guardian/possible older love interest, a family feud involving her grandfather, the hero's grandfather and her guardian's father, a fiancé who had just dumped her weeks before their wedding and then promptly run off with her mother, whom her guardian had feelings for. Oh, and she also had problems with most major law enforcement agencies. Not to mention all the problems she had to deal with where the hero was concerned!

It was never going to work within the category word count. So somehow I had to unravel this story without losing the core plot/conflict.

K.I.S.S., my dear friends. I had to learn the hard way to K.I.S.S.

I finally got round to tattooing it on my forehead...not really...but I came close when sometimes it felt like pure torture trying to strip away the non-essentials while making sure the story still worked. Happily, my editor was happy with the result, which was a huge relief! 

So, if like me you tend to over-clutter your stories, then remembering to KISS may be your saviour.

It certainly was mine!

1 comment:

Romy Sommer said...

Thanks for the timely post, Maya. I thought my current WIP's conflicts were complicated, but I think yours definitely wins the prize. And now I can't wait to read it just to see how you pared it down!