So as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t plan my books out in advance, except for that one time, and that one time the book didn’t come out anything like how I planned it. This tends to end up working out well for me, but it also means that, sometimes, I end up going in a direction that doesn’t work out. In the case of Dragon Stones, that entailed the wholesale excision of a character’s point of view scenes*; but in the case of the book I’m currently working on, Blue Roses, I’ve decided that the direction it was going with three of the main characters (four if you count the squirrel**) just wasn’t working out, and so I’ve axed the last 20,000 words or so, pruning the story back to where it branched in the direction that proved unproductive***. Because sometimes you’ve gotta be ruthless.
I’d been feeling for a while now that the story wasn’t really going the way I wanted it to, but I’d been plowing ahead in the hopes it would start to click. No such luck, though, so it’s time to stop throwing good writing after bad. Or something like that. Now, this doesn’t mean the last month or two of work has been totally wasted. For one thing, I now have a pretty good idea of what I’m not going to do; for another, there are still scenes in the removed sections that I’ll pull out and use. They’re just not those scenes involving those particular characters in that particular plotline. At this point, I’m back to a spot in the story where our current main character, Baxter, is back at his house with a talking squirrel in his pocket (because reasons) and trying to explain to one roommate what may or may not have happened to the other two, in a little bit of new dialog:
“It was this … this thing. I don’t know how to describe it. It made them disappear. Or it might have turned them into something else.” Baxter’s voice at this point didn’t sound convincing even to himself, and he knew he wasn’t lying. “Mice. Caterpillars. I don’t know.”James V. Viscosi, Blue Roses
A second or two passed while Felix stared at Baxter, the narrow look back on his face.
From Baxter’s pocket, the squirrel’s muffled voice said: “Smooth.”
Of course, now I have to figure out what I’m going to replace the removed plotline with. I’m sure something will come to me …
* Orioke the wizard was the victim of this, in case anyone was wondering.
** You should definitely count the squirrel.
*** This is not unlike what my wife does with her plumeria when some of the branches start to get mushy.