Writers all; how many times have you had to take out a word, a phrase, a whole paragraph that you love but which adds nothing to what you’re trying to say, even detracts from the plot? Beautifully crafted phrases you can stick up on your wall for possible use on another occasion? Many times necessary if you don’t want to bore, annoy, frustrate your reader. A whole chapter though is a trickier.
It’s called crafting and if you don’t do it yourself, a good editor will come and do it for you. Painful though it is when your own choice, more galling if by someone else. Yet it has to be viewed as valuable and supportive when that omission has been suggested.
Prior to publishing my latest novel, The Greenhouse Legacy, we, Drew, https://www.drewwestcott.co.uk, and I decided to ask advance readers to give their opinion. I wrote about this in my last post. I’ve always been given feedback from my writer’s group, and other friends who have kindly read to proof and have made suggestions. This is the first time I’d offered my work more widely. I’m pleased to say it received a great response.
The feedback was excellent with one suggestion which shook me to start with; that I leave out the final chapter. This chapter reveals what happened in the greenhouse to cause the tragedy haunting the plot. I’d written this scene early on in the writing of the novel, to be clear in my mind exactly what took place. the timings that showed how the particular incident could have occurred. Apart from making it clear who was to blame, how it had affected those involved, I was proud of the way in which I’d sequenced the events. Repetitions, turns of phrase, placing the reader clearly inside the event. Here is part of it:
She has no knowledge of the MG sports car in racing green which has broken down a few hundred yards from the house she left to come here, Kenneth standing with the bonnet open fuming in front of the overheated engine, the temperature gauge rocketing. She is unaware that Kenneth has grabbed his golf bag from the boot and gone back home to phone the RAC and to take her car, the car which no longer sits in their drive. She doesn’t know that Gina has shrugged as if uncomprehending in answer to his question on her whereabouts, meaning the car. She cannot know that Kenneth, in high dudgeon, is coming to claim his father’s car instead; golf and the chaps at the club being the focus of his day.
‘Less is more’ is a phrase I believe to be true on so many occasions. I’ve taken their advice. that final chapter has gone.
A cover is the next project, finding a professional to take on the task. This will be another occasion when I have to let go. All my cover designs in the past have been a creation between myself and Drew; and I’m proud of them. Both he and I have degrees in art so we will be hard pressed to hand on the baton, so to speak.
Look out for the publication of The Greenhouse Legacy. Coming soon!