Monday, May 23, 2011

Manuscript surgery

There's a scene in my work-in-progress that I initially thought was key. The scene's main event is mentioned on the first page of the book; I  threaded it throughout the book, and placed a fleshed-out version of the scene late in the book. Then I changed a couple of things about the event in that scene. Then a couple more. I added other scenes that do some of what that scene used to do. Now I'm at the point where I'm questioning whether I need the scene at all.

Taking it out would take the book in a slightly different direction. It's not a huge plot shift--more of a shift in characterization. But it amuses me that this scene, which was a big part of how I first found my way into this book, may end up on the cutting-room floor. It's like a sketch line that gets erased or painted over; it's the basting stitch that gets pulled. If you had told me even a week ago that this scene might not be necessary, I would have scoffed. But sometimes you tap on a wall and realize that not only is it not a load-bearing wall, it's actually in the way of what you need to do.

Two other quick items that may be of interest:

Book Chic is hosting a giveaway of The Secret Year: visit his blog to enter. Your chances are excellent; you can sneak in there and get it while everyone else is at BEA. ;-)

But of course, not quite everyone is at BEA. I've been hosting a #notatBEA party on Twitter for those of us not at the Book Expo this week. It's come as you are and do what you like, since the beauty of a virtual party is that nobody has to clean up after it! Dancing, virtual snacks, and silly tweets are encouraged.

2 comments:

  1. How's the party? I love not having to clean up after.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with dealing with that scene. I loved your analogy of the sketch line being painted over.

    It aptly describes what I felt when I had to do the same thing. I find it so intersting to see how other writers work.

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  2. It's been amazing to me how many other writers have reported the same experience, deleting the scene that led them into a story in the first place!

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