So most of you who read my blog everyday (aka the most awesome people in the world) know that I had made a self imposed deadline for myself to finish revising by New Years Day. A goal I failed in the most epic way possible. Sigh.
One would think that I would have then made my goal a few days later, or even a few weeks later. But it's now a little over a month later and I'm still sitting on those last two chapters.
Honestly, I didn't want to work on them. Something was wrong and I couldn't figure out what. I've been really happy and excited about every other chapter so far and I am actually excited about my final chapter, but...chapter 21, aka the second to last chapter....it's been making me crazy. And last night when I got down and dirty with it, I finally figured out why.
I won't bore you with the details but basically the tension was gone from a huge scene --like a HUGE scene that's been written and plotted for over 2 years, and I'm about to go and completely cut it.
I've done this sort of thing before, cutting out a major scene and it's a little scary to do, though at this point, I've been so frustrated with this portion of my book that I'm kind of glad to send this scene packing (I do have plans to resurrect it in a way that will make it better---in the final chapter).
But yeah, after I write this blog post, I'm going to go and highlight a whole lot of words and press delete.
And I swear I'm happy about this and not freaking out. Although I know it's kind of tough to do this sort of thing---I think after such a long revision I'm a little desensitized...or I'm so goal oriented that I don't care what scene or character I have to kill, I'll do it to make the book awesome (oh man, editors better love me).
Anyway, since this can be hard to do, especially if your unsure....I'm posting my tips for knowing when to cut.
1) You don't want to work on a scene. Dude, you should LOVE every scene with the fiery passion of 1,000 suns and be excited out of your mind to work on your novel and if you don't want to work on it, then something is wrong with the scene. It has to go.
2) The scene is boring you. You edit a sentence and then you check twitter. You look at half a sentence and wonder if Cake Boss is on tv. If you can't stay focused on your writing, then your readers won't be focused on your writing and this will be the point of the story where they either put the book down, or race through to the end, thus...losing some of your book's magic. And you cannot let your book lose magic--you should be infusing it with magic.
3) You start itching for the delete button. Your brain is trying to tell you something here. Listen to it. If you can imagine your book without a scene, then take the scene out. Don't labor under something you wrote that no longer works or suits its purpose just because its there or you think its going to be more work to rewrite. Just do it. Hit delete, trust me, you'll thank me later.
So I'm off. This is of course now going to mean some rearranging in the last chapter, but that's fine. So hopefully now that I've had this epiphany (actually I've had quite a few, for each thing I need to cut, I've realized something new I need to add) I really hope that this is the week I do finish the revision --which leaves me to do one last comb through of line edits. I've got my fingers crossed.
How about you guys? How do you approach scene cutting and when do you know you're ready to do it? Or how do you convince yourself it's ok?