I was reading a writer-friend's story once (a year or two ago now, I would say), and came upon an interesting little scene. The heroine of this moody Victorian drama was waiting for her escort to pick her up at a certain train station when an unassuming older woman sidled beside her and won her confidence with sympathetic charm.
The heroine, lured into a feeling of trust, walked away with this woman and was very nearly kidnapped into a life of slavery in the slums of London.
What an exciting scene! And I complimented the writer on it the next chance I got. But then, as we discussed the project further, I learned something rather disappointing . . .
That frightening would-be kidnapper wasn't figuring back into the story. Indeed, the whole event was nothing but a random episode of intrigue in an otherwise unrelated story.
So we come upon this week's Friday Tidbit. When you are crafting your novel, whether you are forming a compelling outline or writing seat-of-the-pants, you need to be certain the events taking place in your book matter!
If something as dramatic as a near-kidnapping takes place, that event will need to figure back into the story at some point. If you introduce a menacing character (or any character, really), that character needs to come around and feature in the story again.
Even in the case mentioned above, if the sinister woman wasn't going to return in the tale, the event of near-kidnapping would need to be followed up. It would need to have some profound effect on the heroine that would motivate her later decisions and actions. Much better still, of course, if the writer can bring that frightening woman and the danger she represents back directly!
So tell me your thoughts? What's a storyline or character you might have introduced but then dropped? Any good ideas of how you might bring it back around to play an important role later on in your story? Or does it need to be cut entirely?