I Dismembered My Novel

It’s a graphic truth, but I just ripped apart my novel. Not that little pruning one does when trying to save that golden prose or avoid the hard truth about scenes that don’t work. No, I’m talking about cutting off its arms and legs, slitting its belly and letting the guts drop out.

The draft was at about 60k and I just cut it back to 37k. Ouch. Big time, ouch.

Why on earth did I do this? Well, I discovered having just one POV character throughout a whole book was limiting. There were all sorts of scenes I wanted the reader to see that the main character just couldn’t be there to witness. So now, one of the supporting character is a POV character, the action is split between them, and I’m finding all new opportunities to slip in fun scenes that would have never made it in the book in its original incarnation. Like a moment where a woman ponders the finer art of burning down a building. And another where my main character witnesses a bizarre ritual complete with glow-y symbols, made-up chants, and puppetmastery.

Now, I’m just wondering how you query a book with two main characters? Pick one? Eek! I have research to do eventually. But for now, I must write and flesh out this story that I’ve been working on entirely too long.

Hey, maybe I can finish it, revise it, and start querying before the end of the year? Is that asking too much?

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5 thoughts on “I Dismembered My Novel

  1. I feel your pain. I’m on the 4th rewrite of my current novel. I finished the first draft and felt so proud, but deep down, I knew I wasn’t writing to the best of my abilities. When I re-read it, I knew something wasn’t right (weak plot, bad organization) and I’d have to basically start from scratch. Ripping apart your novel is the most devastating thing a writer can do, but it’s totally worth it.

    • It’s so painful to rewrite! But I think the faster you detach from the words, the quicker you can work on making the novel as best as it can be. Otherwise you’re just fiddling with phrasing, when it needs much bigger restructuring than that. One thing I’ve learned to do is make notes as I go. I’ve got a brief summary of each chapter written out and then I jot notes for each chapter on index cards as I think of them to implement later. Usually little details that I know I’ll forget in the moment hehe

  2. You’re a brave lady! But it sounds like you did the right thing – MASSIVE good luck in getting it to where you want it to be 🙂

  3. Ouch! That’s a lot to cut! Man, and I thought cutting six thousand out of mine was bad. My word count surgery doesn’t even begin to compare to yours. However, here’s hoping the revision will turn out to be for the best and that the Novel will end up like you want it. 🙂

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