It’s already January 4th. And I still haven’t written a word about goals for this new year. In fact, I have managed only to write a few sentences of notes, an email or two, and a few tweets this entire year. Maybe it’s a slump. Or, it could be the whole winter break thing that results in some very distracting, smallish bi-pedal beings running rampant in my house rather than being dutiful students somewhere else.
Anyway, in the midst of all the frenetic chaos that is my winter break existence, I was struck by a revolutionary thought about my novel. I guess I should say, it isn’t a new thought. It’s more of an acceptance of what needs to happen. Writers talk about this a lot, the whole “kill your darlings” thing. I’m sure it doesn’t come easy for any of us. But, the acceptance that I have darlings that need killing has brought with it a renewed surge of energy to do whatever it takes to get this ridiculously overdue novel finished.
A while back I was listening to an episode of Writers After Dark podcast (I highly recommend this podcast) and was suddenly overcome with an urge to chop out huge portions of the prologue of my book. This took me by surprise. I took out scenes I truly love, and have struggled for far too long to keep in the book. Once I started chopping, however, I was instantly happier with the beginning of my book. This past week, I took the chopping to a new level.
My story covers a significant span of years, and from the beginning, I have struggled to explain, or work around, large gaps in time when nothing of importance is happening. This is a self-inflicted struggle, I now realize, that can be solved by simply snipping away at all those unnecessary darlings of mine. No biggie. Except that it’s the entire part one of the book! Gasp!
In a brief moment of alone-in-the-kitchen calm, I realized that, while part one certainly helps to explain who, what, and why, the main characters are, it isn’t necessary to understanding or enjoying the plot of the story. In fact, part one really just slows the entire thing down. So, snip, snip, my darlings.
Oh, the freedom I feel now. This solves so many complications and opens up so many possibilities with what was formerly known as part two. Don’t worry, I didn’t waste years on a bunch of scenes that will never be read. Now I have a nearly completed prequel! And those chopped out prologue scenes? Well, odds are good at least a few of them will make an appearance here one day.
Lego sculpture courtesy of the smallish bi-pedal beings.
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