Authors, real authors, authors with agents and publishers and all that, tell us the re-write is hard slogging. They also tell us it has to be done. After all those words, so lovingly committed to ‘paper’, become a novel, pruning is still necessary.
There’s a perspective I discover today as I chop. In some cases whole chapters are on the cutting room floor, to be replaced by a couple paragraphs. I find that in much of the first quarter of my new novel (The Shallows of Jabbok) I wrote what I needed to write in order to bring myself into a story that I really want to tell. (I hope the novel doesn’t still have too many sentences as convoluted as that one.)
Now I have to trim to lead you into the main story—you who will read (hint, hint) the book. I have to get it down to a lead-in that will keep you reading and still understand how these people got themselves into this story.
In a nutshell – I had to write all I did in order to write the rest. It wasn’t wasted time, I remind myself. Now I have to concentrate on somebody else, someone who picks up the book. What will keep her/him engaged beginning to end?
When we get to that finished point, we’ll publish. Not before then, but pretty soon, I think.