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And a sigh of relief…

September 22, 2010

The edits for Project W are coming along nicely. I made it all the way through the manuscript again, fixing things as I came to them, occasionally skipping ahead (as I knew I’d be circling back around). However, as I edited, and rewrote, anxiety started prickling beneath the surface.

There was one scene I’d been avoiding.

I hadn’t been entirely sure of it even while writing it. Essentially, my characters were running headlong into danger for no good reason. They’re too smart for that. A four-year-old would be too smart for it. Unfortunately, like ripples spreading from a stone, this one scene impacted others later in the book. The cold sweat really started breaking out when I saw that most of my notes stemmed from this one scene.

This scene, as implausible as it was, couldn’t just be cut. It set up plot events later on. It separated certain characters who needed to be separated. And quite frankly, it was long. Paradoxically, neither could it be reworked. With most of the other scenes, I gutted them, and then rewrote around the bare bones. That wouldn’t work here- the scene’s very backbone was crumbling.

You see why I avoided it for so long.

I ended up replacing it. The entire scene got excised from the manuscript, and I’m nearly finished a replacement scene that accomplishes the same things, story-wise, but doesn’t involve characters acting contrary to their personalities, or having a ridiculous amount of luck. Plus, I was able to include some world-building that hadn’t previously had a chance to be shown. I ended up really enjoying the rewrite, and it’s much stronger for it.

All of which tells me I should’ve just bitten the bullet a while ago. After all, I knew (kind of) what I wanted to do, it just seemed like so much work. The thought of cutting and replacing that much was scary.

But, as usual, the procrastination was worse than the deed itself. Something for me to remember for next time. I’m putting some extra pressure on myself now… I’m sending the second draft to my beta readers on September 27th. Yes, it’s a little tighter than I’m comfortable with, but hopefully I’ll be more productive with that nearby date looming over my head.

I’ll just remember my favourite quotation from an old French teacher of mine:

“This word, deadline, it is a good word. It means if you cross this line, you are dead.”

Cheers!

-Arvik

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3 comments

  1. I like the quote, although most of my deadlines are self imposed so I would have to off myself…

    Glad you were able to face the scene that didn’t work and find a way to fix it – there is nothing like getting rid of having that looming over your shoulder. I have to make a map for my story to sort out distances and such. I don’t know why I’m avoiding doing it either, just my inner perfectionist saying that it will look ugly when I’m done.


  2. Love that quote!

    I just met a self-imposed deadline, so I shall remain alive and kicking just a bit longer. 8)


  3. Congratulations on getting past a rough spot. I too have had to cut scenes that were just so much fun but made little sense.



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