cut, cut, cut

Okay, yesterday I flaked out, intentionally: instead of reading my revision I went out to dinner and a movie with my sister. Badness! But she assured me that today I would be super productive, out of guilt. I think she was right.

Today I read my entire 64 page, single-spaced work-in-progress. I am now eating chocolate and peanut butter. Yes, these two things are deeply related. I’m still trying to gauge how I feel about this book. There are things I really like about it, and other things that need a lot of work. Tomorrow I plan to focus on the first 20 pages or so, and I hope to cut a lot of stuff.

In the first full scene of this draft, we meet our main character wandering through a witchy store in Salem, Massachusetts. I enjoyed writing this scene: describing the store, the items for sale, the decor, the items that intrigued my character. I got the idea for this scene – the springboard for the entire novel, really – while walking around a similar store in Salem this past October. I was enjoying my surroundings and I got to thinking about people with extrasensory-type perception. And I thought, what if someone with some special perception looked at you and could see into you, see stuff that you didn’t want them to see? Or better: stuff that you didn’t even know was there? I gave these thoughts to my character, and they come up in this scene.

So why am I telling you all of this? Because I think this scene needs to be cut. In fact, I think the whole opening needs to be condensed, so that I can move the meeting of our two main characters up earlier in the manuscript. It feels weird, of course, because that early shop scene was my first glimpse into this character. Can I really get rid of it? Yes, of course I can. Thank goodness. That’s the whole point of revision. Nobody needs to see that early, rough stuff. It might get you where you need to go, but that doesn’t mean you need to keep it.

This is where I am now. Part of me feels a bit hesitant, worried about what kind of mess all of these cuts will make. And another part of me is mentally sharpening a pair of scissors, ready and willing to trim away whatever I don’t absolutely need. Hopefully the cutting will help me discover the novel that I’m attempting to write.

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Published in: on January 12, 2010 at 11:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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