At least, on paper. I haven’t taken it back to the behemoth document yet.
I have been wrestling with a number of story-lumps while I fold laundry and chop food.
Not including the one I imagine all self-conscious novelists wrestle with— that effort to not-create the typical (Oates says inevitable) autobiographical 1st novel.
The main puzzle right now has been how to slow the character arc/growth of my main character.
That is, a great deal is demanded of her early in the novel, and (I think…) she can’t be too strong too quickly, or the continued battles don’t/won’t be significant or even necessary.
I was thankful today to come up with some “immaturity markers” that I can weave into both of her early battles.
Now I need to decide how much of my first scene I can let go. In it Linnea is forced to act utterly out of character, but since it’s the first scene there’s no way to know it’s out of character (aside from the leprous telling).
I probably mention it because I’m convinsing myself it needs to go, for the good of the story, and I “grieve” its loss.
Just its being the first chapter for so long means I’ve spent the most time with it and it’s the most polished. Letting it go means sacrificing part of my ego, along with my time. I feel it’s a very well-written chunk.
But I’m more relieved at seeing a clean fix, so I’ll probably adjust pretty quickly.
Not that you want to do this, but is there a way to re-write the first scene and have her weaker? It is a well written scene, but I can also see the point of her acting out of character. Is there a way to have her want to be strong, but unable to?
The problem I see with cutting it is the relationship (however tenuous it is) that you introduce there that becomes important later on.
I’m just getting caught up. I’m not all the way through it yet because of my trip. I’ll finish up this week.
The hands-off-the-document that started mostly by accident has become “policy.”
I’m making notes and walking moose trails to see where they go, without changing anything for now. I appreciate your perspective, E, and yeah, I’m still mulling that one over too.
FWIW, the “one problem solved” bit actually referred to notes I’ve made for the disenchantment and swamp fight scenes. Changing (or dropping) the opener was an afterthought/outgrowth of the other discovery.
With so many words I find myself willing to see shortcuts in cutting great chunks of it.
One man compared the situation to lying: by insisting on one reality, I am then bound to more words to explain the previous assertion.
Ergo, if I remove the initial assertion I am allowed a reprieve of all other explanation (I’ve cut thousands of words– and potential words– with this awareness).