Sometimes, a piece of writing just doesn’t fit. Yesterday I wrote furiously and added about 4k words to my work-in-progress. Today I went back and chopped out 3500 words, but from the beginning. Those words just didn’t fit any more. I realized that what I’d written first was pretty much an outline sneakily disguised as chapter material, but that I’d gone on to write details from it a lot more eloquently later on. Time to take that first chapter and throw it in the outtakes heap. Part of it’s salvageable and I will rework it, but the bulk of it? Not so much, and I’m glad I recognized it. Why give away everything up front when you can describe it at leisure in ways that are hopefully a lot more emotionally charged?
It made me think that writing is really like playing with a set of scales. We add something to this part, take it away from another part, and see where it all evens out. It’s all good.
On a separate note, those of you working on novels: does it ever feel like such a labor of love, but you’re never quite secure enough in it to think it really ought to see the light of day? Maybe it’s my mama bear instincts, wanting to protect my characters from the big bad world out there. These people are full of flaws and that’s what makes them interesting, but I always want them to shine for everyone else like they do for me.
It’s like watching a toddler take those hesitant first steps and thinking come on, baby, you can do it! then realizing you’d like to cherish that special moment for yourself. Or maybe it’s just stage fright.