I’ve recently had some major aha moments during the revision process of a manuscript I first wrote two years ago. After a round of rejections, including one that gave me the smallest smidgen of feedback, I couldn’t quite figure out what the story needed. I knew the stakes needed to be raised – that the story needed to be about more than just the romance. And while it was hard to hear the agent’s feedback, I think I’d always known that the story was about more. But maybe this awareness was just on some majorly deep, subconscious level. 🙂 In order to move forward with the manuscript, I needed to figure out what that “more” was.
I struggled with this for a while, until I received a mass email from a non-profit group I’ve supported a few times over the years. My mouth fell open. Just like that I’d found my “more”. I knew what the story needed, and my next wave of revisions was off.
Now I’m finding that so much of what had seemed so critical to the first draft of this story – and even to the second and third drafts – really didn’t matter so much in this new revision. Cut. Cut. Cut. I don’t think I would’ve seen these scenes for what they were – superfluous, fat, filler – without this new vision of what the story was really about. It felt so freeing to drop these scenes, which I am still in love with, into my “graveyard” file. Maybe they’ll find life again in another story someday. (On that note, if I end up pulling them out the graveyard someday, does that mean they’ll have to be in a zombie novel? Hope not…)
I’d always heard about people dropping major scenes, really rewriting, but I guess I’d never truly experienced it before. I suppose I’m lucky the trimming was voluntary and self-driven. Without those scenes, the manuscript will come together in a way I expect to be fresh. I’ll let you know.
You never know what will inspire re-visioning or a major trim session. But my wish is that, if you’re stuck, that you find your “more” to help you on your way.