Aside

Enslavement’s Cutting Room Floor

Enslavement (3)
I wrote Enslavement, my first novel, many moons ago. In April, it will be seven years since I completed it.

It was a very different story back then. It was 60 pages long and contained more characters and far fewer subplots. As I learned more about writing, I made large changes to the manuscript. I cut three of my first four chapters, I cut characters, but added scenes which fleshed out the subplots. With this post, I wanted to share some of what ended up on the cutting room floor, that is if authors had such a thing.

Avery: Originally, Rielle had twin sisters. In the opening scene, she held Avery and Alyssa on her lap as her parents were arrested. I cut Avery because twins just weren’t necessary. The story was just as well told with only one sister, so one had to go.

Kenzie: She was another slave in the Banker’s house. She shared a room with Lydia and Rielle. She was very weepy, and again, didn’t add anything to the story. To be honest, after the 20th reading, her weepiness got annoying. I didn’t feel one bit bad about cutting her.

Chapter one, the school scene: In its early stages, Enslavement’s opening chapter took place at Rielle’s high school. Her frhill-country5iends were making plans to see a movie, but of course, Rielle couldn’t go. She was feeling left out and angry with her parents, but her friends decided to have a stay-in movie night so that she could join them, though one of her friends’ parents didn’t want her hanging out with  a Resistor.

Chapter two, the walk home: This chapter ended with her stopping a half a block from home when she saw the Bank Security cruisers parked in front of her house. She had to make a decision–run away and save herself or go home and try to help her family. She was about to run, but she heard her sister cry out and her decision was made and her fate was sealed.

The title: I called the first draft Silence. I felt that was too vague, so I renamed it The Fear of Drowning. After a couple years, I decided that that title was too figurative, and it became The Enslavement of Rielle James, which was the  the working title until it was about to be published. When my publisher suggested shortening it to Enslavement, I agreed. I like the simplicity.

While sometimes it’s difficult to delete scenes or characters I like, it was necessary to give readers the best experience possible. I believe the story is better for these cuts, but I do hold those pieces dear. They are something I get to keep for myself. I still think about Rielle as the cold Minnesota wind whipped passed her and she tried to make that decision to go home or run away. How difficult it was for her! I love how, even early on, she was brave and she didn’t even know it.

Advertisements

Obsessive Editing

Just one more edit. Just one more teensy edit. That seems to be my mantra lately. I picasso2contacted a friend who was about to read my manuscript and asked her to delete it because I wanted to edit it one more time. Not a huge edit; I just came off one of those. Just a little edit. A once over to see if the last edit did it’s job. Hmmm. There is such a thing as over-editing, over-thinking and, dare I say, obsessing.

There’s a story told about Picasso and how he would sell his paintings, then buy them back because he, probably after obsessing for awhile, would determine that the painting wasn’t quite done. I don’t know if the story is truth or legend, but I totally understand why an artist would do that.

How I feel every time I send something out.

How I feel every time I send something out.

As I’ve considered my work over the years, it’s clear that I’m a better writer now than I was when I started and I’ll, hopefully, be better in ten years than I am now. Will I look back on my 2014 work and shake my head, be embarrassed at my writing? Since nothing is ever perfect, I’m sure I will. Whenever I send anything off, whether it be to a beta reader, agent, or editor, I get this sense of anxiety. There is a finality to it. Their image of me as an author and my writing will be formed around the piece of work I’ve sent them–AS IS. As exciting as it is to have people read my work, it’s also terrifying. And so, I edit.

I’m editing the piece I have for probably the 25th time. Deep sigh. It’s probably time to stop.