Throughline 101

Storytelling

The One Big Thing That Most Manuscripts Lack

I’ll admit it: my title is pretty sensationalist. But I can’t bring enough attention to this issue. When we’re hired to do content editing, 95% of the manuscripts we look at need significant work in this area. Before we look at their work, most writers have … read more »

Analysis

Five Novels With Strong Throughlines

A throughline is the core or central plot thread of your story, the problem introduced in the beginning and resolved in the climax. It’s what ties everything together and keeps the audience engaged. Novels without strong throughlines have a difficult time building tension or creating satisfaction, two … read more »

Analysis

Six Novels With Weak Throughlines

The Gentleman and Norrell from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

A throughline is a story’s core, the problem that’s introduced at the beginning and resolved at the end. It is the single most important element of a story. When you tell someone what a story is “about,” you’re usually describing the throughline. Read more »

Writing

Establishing and Satisfying Plot Threads

Do you know which hooks are motivating your readers to continue? Each hook creates an open plot thread; readers are pulled in because they want to see them conclude. If you mix up your subplots or don’t close each one properly, you’ll end up with a cranky audience. Read more »

Writing

Tying Your Plot Together

You’ve finally finished the draft of your magnum opus. You’ve developed engaging characters and placed them in a vibrant setting. You’ve filled each scene with conflict, tension, and chocolate. But something’s wrong. The friends who’ve read it tell you that while each scene is entertaining, the … read more »

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