The Ripple Effect


It’s been a while since I started a blog chain and what more appropriate post than this one about the ripple effect to start one. I’m kicking off this chain with the following question:

Has your manuscript (WIP or completed) experienced a ripple effect, where one change affected the manuscript from beginning to end? If so, how?

The premise behind the blog chain idea is for you to write this question at the top of a post, link it back to the person whose blog you read it on, answer the question, and invite others (consider this your formal invitation) to participate. Last, post a link to participant(s) who link back to your blog to complete the chain.

Photo Credit: jeuxsansfrontieres

The other day during my critique group, we discussed how making changes to a story can have ripple effects. Sometimes, those ripples are small. For example, during one of many revisions to my YA dark paranormal EDGE OF TRUTH, where I’ve created a futuristic, dystopian world I realized my characters spent a lot of time outside without eye protection from their too bright sun. Everyone running around with sunglasses was too Agent Smith from the Matrix so instead, I added something more durable and literally flexible: sun hats. OMG, Rena’s (the MC) love interest Nevan looks so hot in a his hat.

As I moved through the manuscript finding scenes where hats were needed, I discovered how much something so simple enriched the world building. It gave my characters something to hide their face behind when embarrassed or angry, it gave them something to hold for comfort, it gave them something to wring in worry. Plus, something so normal helped make them feel real.

I’ve had stronger ripples as well, especially when I brought in a new character who I had to seamlessly work throughout the entire manuscript.

The movie Butterfly Effect is an extreme example of how one change can affect the future.

I’m interested in hearing whether you’ve experienced the ripple effect in your work and if so, how? If you decide to participate in this blog chain, please let me know so I can include a link. If you just want to leave your comments below, that works for me, too. Note: There’s no timeline on this, so link whenever you want.

Please visit these blogger(s) too to see how they answered the question:

∞ Dawn Allen at Write On
Consider yourself linked:

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9 comments on “The Ripple Effect

  1. In my first WIP, An Honorable Man, my heroine’s college roommate who was going on a contract assignment and loaning the heroine her apartment for a few months became her cousin who was offering her sanctuary from an abusive boyfriend. After the change, I realized how much better it was to have Sally (the cousin) there to interact with the heroine instead of in some other state, only emailing or calling now and then.

    Even so, those ripple-causing-changes can be tricky. I’m about to make another one that will alter things here and there. The whole ms is written now, so I’m going to have to be very careful and make sure everything lines up when it’s done. 😉

    Great post! 🙂

  2. Wow, Melissa what an awesome change to make. That probably brought its own level of tension to the book.

    Whenever I make a ripple-causing-change I focus on the one ‘thread’ and pull it through the entire story searching for places/events/people it might affect and making sure they/it responds accordingly.

    Thanks for participating. Good luck with your revisions.

  3. I remember when I decided to add magic to my WIP. It changed the story so much, but it really improved things a lot! I’m not even sure how I made it through the first draft without having magic.
    It seems like every small change you make to a finished product has a ripple effect. It can be fun to fix (like finding out your MC’s love interest looks hot in a hat. How fun is that?).
    I’ve had some that were so frustrating though. Just a little tweak here can really change the way a character would react to something down the road, so for me, the closer I get to polishing off my wip, the less I love the ripples.

    Nice post. 🙂

  4. Love magic! I completely understand the fading love for ripples as the polishing phase comes to an end.

  5. I’m going through that right now during edits. It never stops, it just keeps rippling lOL Great post!

  6. A throwaway character in my WIP somehow ended up getting fully developed and becoming the romantic interest for the MC. I’m not sure how it happened, but I’m glad it did, because he’s a very interesting character! The ripples from adding him into the story have carried through the entire WIP.

  7. […] wasn’t until my critique partners (CPs) Dawn Allen and L.L. McKinney sent a tidal wave through my WIP that I fully understood how deep the characters’ connection ran. Immortals […]

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