By: Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy
I once had to cut a major (and awesome) event from the end of a novel I was writing. This event was so important to me, the entire magic system developed from it, and a huge chunk of the book lead up to it. But after several months of struggling during revisions, I realized I had a problem.
That awesome event wasn't working with the novel I had written.
I knew I had to cut it, but I didn't, because it was, well, awesome. And I loved it. And I'd pictured this event in my mind so clearly I could feel it.
But it wasn't working.
I spent a few months trying to make it work before I accepted that it had to go. It really killed me to kill it, but I couldn't write the novel I knew it could be without cutting that particular event. Once it was gone, and I re-outlined the new ending, my revisions got back on track and the novel was much stronger.
Even if getting there felt like I was cutting off a body part.
How I Knew it Wasn't Working
The most obvious clues were my critique partners saying, "this ending feels like it's part of another book," and "I really don't care what happens in X." This event took place in a separate location from the bulk of the novel and happened to people the reader didn't know. Of course they wouldn't care.
The other clue was the way the rest of the novel kept heading in a different direction, and resolving that awesome event didn't resolve (without a lot of contrived plotting) the core conflict and main goals of the protagonists. And even with the contrivances it was iffy.
The last clue was my own instinct. I knew it. I could feel it.
Clues You Might Need to Cut a Critical Event From Your Novel
1. Your writer's instinct says so.
. . .
To read the rest of the post, click here:
If you missed my latest writing and marketing tweets, here they are again:
- The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing Your Novel - She Writes http://ow.ly/XNeVC
- Agent and Editor Insights Part 2: Why Manuscripts Are Rejected - Where Writers Win http://ow.ly/XNgAz
- Fiction University: Kill What? What to Do When You Need to Cut a Major Part of Your Novel http://ow.ly/XNgUF
- Drafting in Layers - Elizabeth Spann Craig http://ow.ly/XNgY5
- Fiction University: Something Worth Saying: Writing Effective Dialogue http://ow.ly/XNh5C
- The (Real) Future of Publishing | Digital Book World http://ow.ly/XNha9
- Found in translation: three literary translators share tips and secrets | Nail Your Novel http://ow.ly/XNhfS
- Query Letter POV: Choosing The Right Point Of View In Your Query Letter - Writer's Relief, Inc. http://ow.ly/XNhse
- Instagram Contests: Tools and Tips for Marketers : Social Media Examiner http://ow.ly/XNhxH
- The Top 10 Brands Photos on Instagram http://ow.ly/XNhQY
- 12 Key Tactics The Pros Use to Become a Serious Blogger - Peg Fitzpatrick http://ow.ly/XNhXX
- Authors: Not Sure What to Tweet? Try These 44 Tweets Today - Social Media Just for Writers http://ow.ly/XNi9J
- 3 Tactics for Building Quality Links to Your Blog http://ow.ly/XNifl
- To Blog or Not To Blog, That is the Question - Rachelle Gardner http://ow.ly/XNirO
- Five Marketing Models for Self-Publishing Success http://ow.ly/XNivt
- Top 10 Tips for Working With A Book Designer http://ow.ly/XNiFb
- Other Writing Outlets | Self-Publishing Author Advice from The Alliance of Independent Authors http://ow.ly/XNiLE