I'm not sure if I would "officially" classify as a discovery writer, but I usually write very freely. I get a bunch of ideas, write them down and try to put them together to create a compelling story. I usually write characters first and create a story around them, or I start with an idea and write around it.

The problem is that my writing sometimes has a very uneven "density", meaning I dedicate more time writing for one part (usually the part I find most interesting) while the other is more bare bones and not all that specific. As a result, I end up with way too much fluff for my favorite parts, which I have to cut down mercilessly anyway, while the other parts, which are more boring to write but still important, suffer for it.

How can I make my writing more "even"? Are there any tricks I can employ to make it easier to stay consistent, especially if you don't start writing from start to finish, but somewhere in the middle?

2 Answers 2


"Uneven writing density" is something that happens to me too, in my first draft. Then I go and add material where I've got only a skeleton, trim the excessive fat.

One thing I found is, sometimes the "excess" from one part can be grafted onto a "skeletal" part. For example, I might have a small scene of brotherly affection between two characters. It's nice in and of itself, but it slows the overall pacing, so it has to go. Later on in the story, there's not enough flesh, so this scene might come in as a memory. Or, I might just reuse a joke from the deleted scene in a new setting.

When I trim, my main consideration is pacing. So, I make a mental note of what it is I'm excising (interaction between two characters, some bit of foreshadowing, an introduction of a worldbuilding concept etc.) and I use this as a guide for what I need to bring back to the story. Those are the elements I'd try to introduce in the places that need "filling up".


Experience tells me beta readers are crucial in this. What did my writing over/underdo? To be honest, I didn't know until I had other eyes on my drafts. It's not even just that I don't know what my personal weaknesses are; it's that every individual story has problems no writing tips can guess. Better still, you'll be amazed how little work it takes to fix the specific issues they raise, relative to how much good you do your work in the process.

Which characters aren't fleshed out enough, and in what way aren't they? Believe it or not, this isn't just about personality. I rarely describe a character's appearance, and if I do it's because they really need it, possibly to showcase an aspect of their personality; but maybe someone needed it and I didn't think they did.

Which scenes deserve to have their emotional implications better addressed? In one recent example, I used a first-person narrator, which I rarely do. This made it all the more vital that, when something that really mattered to her happens (for good or ill), I make that evident. In arguably the two most important examples, I didn't... until someone pointed it out, whence I did.

Which chapters don't belong? Yes, scenes or even whole chapters can warrant excision. It depends in part on how they got in there, of course. Going back to the aforementioned story, because the protagonist had originally been part of a more even-handed ensemble cast in a number of short stories, the realization that I should focus on her also meant deciding which stories to keep. When one pares down, one often doesn't initially pare down far enough.

Finally, what goes wrong in your sentences? Once you know what makes them hardest to follow, you'll come up with your own ideas for what to do as you redraft. Unfortunately, this one does involve a lot of work. But, for example, I was told there were too many sentences with difficult syntax (which isn't surprising, since the character was a prodigy). So I thought to re-read the longer sentences, and that also let me notice certain words padded sentences and could often be removed, even from sentences that weren't all that long or hard to begin with. You might be surprised how much you should gut besides plot detail.

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