As I mentioned on Monday, I’m busy editing The Heir’s Choice, which is the second book in my epic fantasy series. (BTW, I also put out a call for beta readers, so if you need a new crit partner and like reading Fantasy, I’m your lady. Click here for more information.)
Right now, though, I’m in the home stretch of my big edits. Stuff like characterization and plot order should be fixed by the time I’m done.
I’m pretty much at the point where I should be winding down my edits. Because usually, my ends are just fine. So are the latter halves of my middles, for that matter.
But not yesterday. Yesterday, I realized that I’d written a chapter in an illogical sequence. As in, something INCREDIBLY important happened, and my main character proceeded to do nothing about it until hours later. Which wasn’t a big problem in itself. Except that rearranging the chapter’s scenes to make more sense meant that I’d have to cut one of my favorite scenes.
Man. That was hard. All I wanted to do was keep things as they are and get to the last bit of the book. (I only have about 50 pages left.) The temptation was real, though. See, out of the six people I’d sent the book to, only one picked up on the error. I guess I’m just that good at dragging readers into my story. *Wink*
And truth is, I follow Stephen King’s advice on crit partner opinion. I have more than four CPs. I give them the work in the exact same stage of edits. And if half or less of them say something needs to change, don’t change it.
Which meant that just based on my own editing methods, I should have let that little illogical moment stay right where it was.
But I couldn’t. See, I do have an overall picture of what I want to happen and where, and why. But to me, presenting the strongest book possible for my paying readers is the most important thing to focus on when editing. And that moment, that one small moment, weakened an entire section.
So I picked up my scalpel and cut into that chapter without mercy until everything was arranged in a way that made sense. It hurt in the beginning. Especially when I had to rip out the scene I loved. But then something happened. I wrote in a scene that was even better. One that actually does a lot more to progress the story-line.
Needless to say, this makes me a happy writer, and made me think I should share this story.
Because cutting into our stories hurt, but more often than not, it’s worthwhile. Cutting out weaknesses gives us space to replace them with something stronger, and if done right, the story is always better for it.
Anyone else find the bright side to killing their darlings? Do tell me about it!