Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rachael Deletes A Lot of Scenes


Oh, hi.

Hahaha. Ha.

Excuse me. It's just that this topic is so flipping funny. I can't take it. It's like a joke. Except the punchline... Oh, it's killing me. Just killing me. Stop already, okay?

Deleted scenes.

Okay. Here's the set up for the joke. I have a book due in seven days (that sounds longer than a week, right? Right!). I'm almost done! I'm figuring it will be right at about 90,000 words, which feels good. Feels right.

When I sold this book (in paragraph form, as part of a package deal), it had a bit of underlying suspense. You know, not heavy romantic suspense, but there was a Bad Guy in it, so I wrote the book with a Baddie. Killed him off at the end with lots of gunfire and ka-blammo action. Good stuff.

But I didn't like it or him and it didn't feel natural and it was, worst of all, OBVIOUS.

So back to the drawing board.

I came up with another Bad Guy, only I made him a her, and changed the whole book around. Major rewrite. Maybe it was a bit better, but it still wasn't working. You know why? The book wasn't meant to have a Bad Guy. It was meant to have some knitting and lots of romantic tension, but it wasn't meant to have guns and pipe bombs, damn it.

And thank GOD my agent and I figured that out in time and that my editor, god bless her socks, agreed.

So now, after the biggest edit of my life, DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY WORDS ARE IN MY "CUT FILE?" You know, that file that Sophie talked about yesterday, that file that we create where we dump all those scenes that we're too sentimental about to simply throw out (in case we need them again--as if we EVER would)?

There are 60,000 words in my CUT file. (That's roughly 240 pages or so.)

60,000 words comprising scenes that used to be in my manuscript that aren't any more. Do you know how much I loved some of those? I lost a scene where her brakes lines have been cut and she carooms down a hill and crashes into the front of her brother's bar. I lost the scene where she SHOOTS HIM IN THE LEG because he scares her by coming into her bedroom in the middle of the night (I loved that scene).

Deleted scenes. Oy. Yeah, I know about 'em. I know ALL about 'em.

Ha! Ha.
Now excuse me while I go gibber in my corner over there.


toni in florida said...

You could start a blog called "Rachael's Rejects" and post these snippets/sections without any intro or explanation, leaving it to your readers to guess or to use them as writers' prompts. Could be such fun! (Of course, if you ever teach a writing class, you could use them there, too.)

TINA said...

great word that; spiffing word in fact.
cheered me up (and me and the chooks need cheering up).
I am most grateful, thanks awfully.

Lisa Hughey said...

i am so glad you figured out you shouldn't have a Bad Guy and so sorry it has taken an extra 60K to cut him/her out :)

Martha Flynn said...

Can I have the pipe bomb scenes? I promise to put them to good use!!

But jeez, Rach, your "cut" file is longer than my entire novel!!! (That doesn't make you feel better, does it? Rats.)

Sophie Littlefield said...

Oy Rachael, I feel your pain, having just rewritten my hell project 4 times. It's kind of like you and the book meld into one...and then You/Book are tied to a pyre and burnt until you're nothing but the blackened skin on a marshmallow that fell off the stick, and then all the crumply stuff slowly falls away and a new You/Book emerges, tender and sticky and glisteny, and you start over...

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