You know that thing they tell you to do that no one wants to do? I did it.

I cropped the first six chapters, approximately 8,000 words, out of my novel. Granted, about two thousand went back in. You do need SOME backstory. I have no idea if it still flows and if so, how well. I started the task in February, had a meltdown of brain and flashdrive cells and had to restart that and several other projects. (Have you run a backup recently?) I think it’s been for the better. When I launched into the restructuring two weeks ago, I had a new vision for how to do it and well, what do ya know? It worked. I think. Give me a few months of not staring at the blasted thing to get it out of my head – or a new beta reader – and I’ll be able to give you a better idea. At any rate, I hope to receive some sort of guidance from the writers conference and the agent that’s had my original opening. If she tells me I should never have cut a thing, fine.

My one concern has been how flummoxed everyone was by the number of characters and their names. (Be grateful I did not include the original novel’s massive cast.) Those readers who got confused pleaded with me to start the book slowly and give them time to acclimate. The problem with that is, no agent and/or editor wants to see a book start slow. Since publication has always been a goal, I elected to kill more darlings. There were already little bodies all over the floor anyway, what’s a few more?




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6 Responses to “Deconstruction”

  1. Suzan Harden says:

    Oh, sweetie! I'm so sorry you lost stuff!

    I swear flash drives are the greatest things ever invented.

  2. Jenny says:

    Sounds like you were really busy!!! I agree, some backstory is necessary!

  3. Natalie Aguirre says:

    It's hard to know how much backstory to leave in. In the second book of my series, I started with way too much and had to cut it several times to get it right.

    Hope you get guidance from the agent you'll be seeing.

  4. Victoria Dixon says:

    Thanks, all. Honestly, Suzan, I think the loss was for the better. How I did the deconstruction the first time would have led to more mess, but this time it worked. I was more bummed, even at the time, by having lost my review of Kay's novel. It took so long to write and say what I wanted, but a friend had kept a major portion of what I'd already done because she proofed it for me.

    It's been terrible cutting these chapters, Natalie. Not only are they old friends, they're some of the most beautiful prose I've done. I hate to see it go, but maybe someday I can reuse it. I suspect the agent will approve of my decision regardless of her interest in the novel. Of course, I could be wrong. LOL. If she asks to see the whole thing, I'll let her have her version-pick. ;D

  5. Jeannie Lin says:

    It's definitely painful to cut so much, but when it's right for the story, you'll feel it in your gut.

    I wish you could come by and see my Keeping Them Hooked talk some time. It seems each time I do it, I cover the material but a different theme emerges. This weekend's theme seemed to be being willing to break into writing that sounds good to take it to the next level. That sounds like what you've done here.

    Beautiful prose will come again because it came from within you the first time. There's more in there. 🙂

  6. Lisa Cindrich says:

    I can't wait to read the entire "next" draft. Foreign names are always a little tough on a reader, but what are you gonna do? Call your Chinese characters Tom and Mike?

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