Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut It Up

You remember that bit of “unexpected research” that kept me from going on with the Fourth Book awhile back? The bit I wrote about here?

Well, I just cut everything it inspired.

I know, it’s a waste. Of effort, of time, of writing—of everything, really. But, you see, it just didn’t work. It didn’t feel right. It was like trying to shove an octagon down a drainpipe—it kind of works, and I could really force it if I want, but it’s just not worth the effort, you know?

Screw it. Enough with the ambiguity. Let’s talk about exactly what it was.

So, in a gist—and avoiding spoilers even if what you eventually see is completely different from what the draft is today—the main character’s walks into a movie theater and checks out the posters on hand. One of these happens to be for The Artist—a phenomenal movie, if you haven’t seen it, that really makes you take a different look at modern society’s insistence on endless sensory input. This inspires some thoughts on the film, particularly on two specific scenes, how they’re so overwhelming, speak on such an emotional level without ever saying a word—and this leads in to a rather important development, or, at the least, a major shift in the framework of the story.

I missed it in the outline and the first time through drafting, but you probably already see the problem. That is, my book was relying on something outside itself for character development. I mean, unless it’s a sequel or something, that simply shouldn’t be done. It’s like wearing white after Labor Day.

Plus there’s the whole copyright thing. Pretty sure I played it safe enough with this, but in the end, I’m tired of even considering waging that battle.

This second draft, even though there’s plenty to go around already, I’ve been adding a great deal of character work—refining, defining, molding, strengthening—and it doesn’t seem to me that, in cutting this section—this measly, tiring, stereotypical bit of pondery—I’ve lost anything. In fact, maybe I’ve actually reinforced my original intent. It’s hard to say, really. Gut feeling, more like.

And just so you know, it’s still there, the reference. Less obvious than before, rather less on-the-nose—a tease of a concept if you will. There is still an impact, still emotional distress, but of an entirely different variety more in-keeping with the story and the character. Much easier to shove down the drain.

This wasn’t the only cut, mind. It was surely the most expansive thus far, but here and there I’ve simply torn references and tangents away, saving them for another day or outright rejecting them, wondering why I’d even bothered to include them in the first place.

Some, I don’t even remember writing. Isn’t that weird?

The Fourth Book is still being worked on, but Sanity’s Flaw, the first novel in "The Procyk Trilogy," is available now.