As I work through my first drafts now, while I keep pushing forward and resist the urge to start all over (always there in the early draft), I’ m constantly thinking about how my story fits together. How what happens in chapter one fits with what happens in chapter twenty, for example. My first drafts are rough, rough, rough, more like discovery drafts, but I still keep this idea of connection in my mind because I don’t want to wander too far off. I don’t want to end up lost like some authorial Columbus asking, “Say, can anyone tell me the way to China? It’s supposed to be around here somewhere.”
So there’s that.
Then my revision, at least the part that doesn’t focus strictly on language, is about making these connections clearer and filling in my story.
And that’s what I’m getting at in this post. Novels are all about connections. Story arc, character development, all that comes out of connections that the writer makes during the process and then manages to convey dramatically in the work. Everything has to fit together. I think that keeping this in mind helps me with structure.