As both readers of this blog know, I have been working like a man possessed in order to deliver what I call a “presentation draft” to my publisher, that titan of apocalyptic fiction, Permuted Press. They are the most wonderful people one could hope to work with, but contracts are built on trust that each party will deliver on time. I will deliver on time, but I’m just having to work like a maniac (and make my poor editing slave, the Spousal Unit, work even harder). It’s writing, not digging ditches, so I really have no complaint. Besides, I’m sure Permuted will be understanding if I don’t meet my deadline.
Just like they were with noted author Luca Brasi.
Anyway, the highs of getting a lot of words down and then even going back over them (with the help of a professional book editrix who you married 15 years earlier just for this exact moment) are wonderful. But, friends, now I have come to a part of the novel that I had written when I was first fleshing it out … and I love it, it’s very exciting … but it’s going to have to go.
“Tell that chapter it was only business. I always liked it.”
See, Dead Man’s Hand is a huge expansion of a short story I wrote back in the day for a zombie fiction anthology. It always begged for a sequel or expansion, because I never really resolved the main conflict. Now, oh yes, it is solved, but only after I created — as every writer knows — an entire world around it, the world of what is now 65,000 words of a novel. Part of that world — where the main character is beaten and abused and then witnesses a lottery that makes no goddamn sense now. It made sense then, but now? It’s not only cliché, but downright stupid. So, even though it will cost me some 2,000 words of my total that will not be replaced — THIS IS WRITING I’VE ALREADY DONE, DAMMIT!!! — I must be strong and be a professional. I have to make it nothing personal, just business.
“Leave the formerly relevant but now extraneous action and exposition. Take the throughline.”
So what I’m going to do is keep the 5,000-or-so words as a “deleted scene” on the eventual eBook or just have it as an extra on SeanHoade.com. This seems like the best of both worlds for me. It gives a little peek under the hood of my incredibly well-oiled writing machine of a brain, but doesn’t put it in the novel itself, where it is undeniably distracting and worse than unnecessary.
For my word count, which I have been keeping assiduous track of for my friends, I’m going to note how many words I wrote today rather than the net gain as I did with excising some stuff the other day and writing new stuff elsewhere. I will amend my word count to reflect the net words for the day, however, because that will be the new, accurate word count as I close in on the finish line of Reviva Las Vegas! Book 1: Dead Man’s Hand.