Last week I mentioned the darkness of my first draft of A Perfect Caress. Along with the instruction to lighten the story, my editor (a true genius really because she saw the potential in me) told me that the novel was episodic. She said there wasn’t much going on beside a couple of hospital scenes, an anniversary party, and the trip to Italy.
My response was Huh? And then I had to go look up what episodic meant and I learned that my book consisted of episodes of things happening, like a television series. Clarity hit me then. I had not conflict in the story, nothing to drive the novel forward. To keep the reader interested to see what was going to happen. My GMCs (Goals, motivations, and conflict) didn’t really exist.
Deep, heaving sigh and then a bit of hyperventilation.
Into the writing den for an intense revision. Out with the episodic (and dark), and in with the conflict to engage the reader into reading the whole book.
Be aware that episodic writing works for some writers. I read a book by Beverly Jenkins (Breathless – I loved it) recently where I kept waiting for the conflict to hit. It never did, but I still found the story to be amazing. Go figure.
Have you ever read an episodic book that you couldn’t put down? Or that you just had to put down because you felt there wasn’t a point?