In the long journey to tell an exciting book-length story, I’ve done some brutal manuscript editing, but this week is especially tough. I’ve got to nix the kids. Yes, my main character’s own children!
Each draft of this novel has seen big changes. In the first go-round, my main characters had an eventful 50 page nail-biting trek to Idaho that ended in an explosion (and then ended up on the cutting room floor). The second time around I had to add an entirely new desire line built around buried family secrets (so there was a lot of burying to do, so to speak). And now, I am ready to face another big change: editing out two nice young kids who are bogging down the plot line.
Why? Well, I’d gotten the same feedback over and over from draft one, “What role do the kids play in this story?” and I’ve never been able to answer that question. Then there are the obvious areas in the plot where the kids have to be somewhere, since they aren’t in most of the scenes. So I invented them a babysitter, who was boring and didn’t matter to the story either.
How did I finally decide to make the cut? I realized I was tweaking the plot to make sure they weren’t forgotten or left unattended at home, and keeping it up was becoming a real pain in the ass.
So it’s done. They’re gone.
But maybe not forever. I shaved seven years off my main character’s age in this process, making sure that there is room for the kids in the sequel!