This past weekend I was on the faculty at the annual Wisconsin SCBWI fall retreat, and I’m still thinking about a lot of things that were batted around in the various sessions. During a faculty panel the last morning we were each asked to give one recommendation based on the manuscripts we saw. There were some general responses (“Write the story that needs to be written”) but the three craft-focused ones were interesting: simplify your plots; play more with language; learn to heighten the immediacy of the POV and voice. Those last two are certainly connected; facility with language will always make it easier to increase or decrease immediacy. The comment about tangled plots is my take-away, I think. I wish I’d thought to make the recommendation. So many stories are so, well, big. It was an editor from a large publishing house, BTW, who made the comment and the other editors there nodded their heads. So, there you go: simplify.