What should I cut from my novel?
We all want the answer to that question to be nothing. The novel is perfect. Publish it and earn your spot on the New York Times best sellers list. Oh, our delusions. That simply isn’t the case. When we write, often times, we are trying to get all the words down on the paper. What we don’t often see when we are churning away is that some of the characters, subplots, and scenes are unfocused and doesn’t serve the over-arching plot.
When we reread and edit, we must do so with a critical eye, take a step back from the prose itself and ask: does all this connect?
Even if the writing is fantastic, if it doesn’t serve the plot, it might have to be eliminated.
Many authors have said it, so I might as well say it again: Kill your darlings.
Kill your darlings does not mean cutting the parts of the story you love the most, but rather, making the edits that are best for the story, not your ego. Yes, we all want to keep that delightful character that we skillfully crafted or relish in that scene where an epic action sequence occurred, however, if those elements aren’t serving the greater good: the story, then it is best to remove them.
My prologue was not a darling, it was an information dump. I have an idea to make it a more encapsulating scene, and I tend to do so after I finish reading through the novel. If I approach it correctly, I will be able to tie the prologue to the actual storyline of a plot. Yes, that is the plan.
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