I took this photo while camping earlier this month. It’s a picture of a deer. No, really! Look closely. She’s in there. The problem is – of course – that there’s too much other stuff getting in the way. As a result, this photo will never win a wildlife photography contest.
A new story is a lot like this photo. The starting idea doesn’t have much shape or form. The edges are all blurry and things are haphazardly placed. The only way to find the focal point is to peel back the layers of clutter.
While the fallen tree in the foreground of this photo is very interesting, it’s completely overshadowing the deer. The same with the screen of green pine needles. They have almost buried the poor deer.
The writer’s job is to clear away anything that interferes with the heart of the story while putting the supporting elements in all the right places. Backstory, subplots, and intrigue all have their place. But it’s not to overshadow the main story.
The deer here are the focal point while using all the other elements to add interest and support the subject. This is what you want your story to look like!