Had a moment where I considered cutting quite a big point. I don’t disregard it so much as it fades into the background. If it takes you out of the story then I need to get rid of it, don’t I? It establishes a value in what you would call in Joseph Campbell’s vernacular, the call to adventure. Plus it’s a good scene and I like how it flows, it’s spare and yet visceral, both in what happens and what I hope are the reactions to it.
I’m still thinking about what to cut, although I do like the tone of the piece. I feel that I have the voice of Caitlin down and I am looking to avoid having her spend too much time alone in the book. That will mean cutting, but I will keep what I take away. I am beginning to think that the trick to this will be reordering some of the scenes as well as cutting some conversations that don’t go anywhere. Every scene should move the story forward. At some point, I will revisit Robert McKee. I view his work as principles rather than rules, it’s been a massive help to me in terms of understanding what a story is, and how to structure them. I want to tell stories and stories are things that move, not stay in one place. First drafts are where you let the story grow, this is where I start trimming the branches and moving things forward. You hope that the soil is good and you keep turning over the earth, helping things grow and you look for things to prune, or where you need to plant new things.
Or as I put it, sit down and write. Get it done and get it finished. Even if no one reads it, they might want to but first you have to write it. We are waiting for your voice on the page. Yes, there’s probably more writing available to us, more knowledge than at any point in human history, think of all the things that we know and we can do. Think of the things we accomplished.
Now think of all the things that make you sad.
Only you will ever experience that set of emotions and experiences directly, and if you have the discipline and the intention, then you can write about it, using story and metaphor and words to share that with us. You might save someone’s life, you might entertain someone on a boring train journey. You might be the subject of a conversation that leads to people falling desperately and madly in love, moving in together, having children and growing old together.
You might be hated. Some people are, and that’s an expression of pain. You can heal people with your words, simply by taking them away to your experience. If you keep going, and you breathe through that sadness, then you can share yourself with everyone who reads your work. Do it for that if nothing else.
Has a tweet changed someone’s life? Probably but a good book saves more, I am sure of it. I want to get the work out to as many people as possible, because I love it and I want to offer it up to you.