Falling Plot Dominoes

I’m currently in the midst of majorly revising my latest cozy mystery and I’m all too aware of the hazard of falling plot dominoes. Even though I’m barely a third of the way through my revisions, I’ve already heard the clickety clack clack of toppling dominoes several times. Usually that sound (so loud in my mind) threatens to send me into panic mode because when you see the pattern of your previous plot getting destroyed in your mind’s eye, it’s more than a little scary and overwhelming.

However, instead of freaking out every time the dominoes start to topple, I do my best to remind myself that it’s unlikely that every single domino will fall over. It’s also unlikely that I won’t be able to find a way to pick the dominoes up and slide them back into position or, in some cases, slide them into a new position. In fact, experience has taught me that a few minutes of brainstorming will typically solve the problem and stop the cascade of plot pieces.

It’s still overwhelming at times to know that changing one element of the plot can have such an effect on so many other parts of the story, but the fact is that panicking doesn’t solve anything. So now when my plot dominoes start to clickety clack clack, each one hitting the next, I put on my hardhat, wade in amongst those plot dominoes and find a way to solve the problem, whether the solution is to switch some dominoes around, take some out altogether or substitute some with new ones.

As long as I stay calm and keep the big picture in sight, I know I’ll end up with a new and complete plot pattern. And, hopefully, at the end of the revision process I’ll find that my new plot pattern is much better than the one I had before.

Thank you so much for having me here at the blog for the past two months! I’ve had a great time!


Author: Sarah Fox

Author of cozy mysteries. Llama herder when required. Chocoholic always. Music Lover's Mysteries (HarperCollins): #1 DEAD RINGER #2 DEATH IN A MAJOR #3 DEADLY OVERTURES Pancake House Mysteries (Penguin Random House): #1 THE CRÊPES OF WRATH #2 FOR WHOM THE BREAD ROLLS #3 OF SPICE AND MEN (November 2017) Literary Pub Mysteries (Coming in 2019 from Kensington). Represented by Jessica Faust of BookEnds. www.authorsarahfox.com

9 thoughts on “Falling Plot Dominoes”

  1. Sarah, it’s been a pleasure to have you here. Please come back and visit! And I know exactly what you mean about dominoes. Sometimes I’m amazed at the impact the tiniest change can have.


  2. Sarah, it has been a pleasure. Hope we see you again.

    Yes, plots are like spider webs. Pluck one string and the whole thing vibrates. Then Shelob runs out to eat you. Well, maybe not, as you point out.


  3. I both love and hate that stage. At first it seems like a couple of tweaks, and then one by one, dominoes start to fall and trigger a massive situation. I love the image of putting on your hardhat! I’m going to use that from now on! (We should have special Mysteristas plot-revision hardhats!)


  4. Hooray for having a hard hat and for being brave enough to wade right in. Very inspiring.

    And thank you SO much for hanging out with us the past few months. It’s been fabulous. Thanks for sharing your insights with us. Best wishes (and come back to visit when you can)!


  5. Love the domino analogy! And isn’t it fun to see the new patterns emerge after you’ve gone in with your hard hat? 🙂

    Thanks for hanging out here and for your fun posts, and good luck with the rest of your domino-building!


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