Monday, March 14, 2011

Hacking The WIP

I've had a revelation.

A couple weeks ago, after careful debating, consideration, and frantically emailing my crit partner, I've come to the conclusion that I need to hack a major part of my WIP.

For some reason I thought I needed to have both my main character's POV and the love interest's POV (and for the life of me I can't remember why I came to that conclusion).  But I kind of didn't decide that until a little ways into my book.  So I had my MC and her personal journey and conflict, and the overarching conflict all the characters had to go through, but the love interest didn't really have his own story.  He was just there along for the ride.

After a question was brought up about his POV, I began to think about it.  Was his POV necessary to the story?  Did he propel any of the plot forward?  While he is considered a big character to me (it's sort of an ensemble cast of four characters, with my MC as the main-main character), I couldn't figure out his purpose (besides making out with my MC).

So I'm chopping his POV.  Cutting it right out and making it all from my main character's perspective.  It's going to take a while, but I think it's worth it.  I think it will make my MC stronger.

While their love story is a significant part of the novel, I want to focus more on her personal journey and the four of them as a group and their collective journey together.

Tell me, have you had to chop a significant portion of your book?  Was it hard to let go of a big part of your "baby"?

25 comments:

Christine Danek said...

Ohhh yeah. It's always so hard to do too. I keep my favorite parts that I chop in another folder just in case and for reminiscing purposes. Good luck.

Jessie said...

I know it was a hard decision for you....but I think it was the right one and will give a whole new dimension to your book. On another note...took a bath last night and read 100 pages of Across the Universe :) Shriveled and pruned at the end but totally worth it-great book recommendation!!!

Colene Murphy said...

I start chopping away chunks this week, as per your suggestion actually! Not looking forward to the work, but it's easier knowing it is the thing to do, right? Right! Good luck with your continued hackage!

Angela Felsted said...

I admit I like chopping. It feels good most of the time. Too good sometimes, like I'm chopping off unwanted parts of myself. If only it were that simple.

How great that you've found a way to improve your story. What a lot of work, though. Good luck.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not a significant chunk, but lots of dialogue went when my test readers got a hold of it.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Oh, Abby.

I think I told you this before, but I literally cut my book in half.

The saddest part for me was when my wonderfully rounded supported cast had to be cut down to just minor characters. Several of the relationships I forged had to be simplified to concentrate more on the mc.

I concentrated to much on the adults taking precious words away from the kids.... M/G needs to focus on kids, because kids like to read about other kids.

I feel adult influences are important so I did keep their pov's in tact when necessary.

I have several pov's throughout the book. I tried to keep in in just my mc's but it didn't feel right.

Jen Daiker said...

It never gets easier for me. I want it to, but when you're dealing with a new WIP you have new people that come in and change your life. That is never easy.

Change is hard. Even if that change is a good change (I'm learning that right now). I'm about to ADD a ton to my WIP and I'm nervous because I don't want to make it suck. I'm an underwriter and that is never easy!

NiaRaie said...

I've never had to take a POV out and start over. That sounds scary! But I have had to delete subplots that were weighing the story down and it got messy b/c you know that subplots are woven intricately throughout the whole story.

Michelle Merrill said...

It's always hard to chop a big part out of your story. That's great that you could see it, though, and make the change now. Good luck with the chopping block.

Carol Riggs said...

Wow, good for you. How brave! Now you're making me wonder if my Shiny New Idea for my next novel really should have both POVs...thanks for the thoughts!

Jennie Bailey said...

Chopping my baby for you girls! The very first time I had to chop something, it was torture. The way that I make it bearable - I keep what I chop in a separate document. That way it's never REALLY gone. It helps ease the anxiety. It's gone for a reason, it makes the work stronger, but it's not easy to let go.

N. R. Williams said...

It's always hard to cut out something you labored on and in some cases you've become attached to the scene, the character, the words that you wrote. But plot and character development always wins out.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, Special .99 through April 30

Melissa said...

I know you have your old versions of your story still and that's good. Because then you always have it! BUt, it will make your story stronger and that's the most important thing, right?

I know what you mean about the other three in your group being Main characters to you. I have seven. :) (you guys will have met all of them in this next section) but when it comes down to it...it's Rory's story. (Though each of the seven have their own arcs, goals and motivations - one reason I can't wait for the next two books in the trilogy because then everythings established and it all starts coming together in ways that it can't in the first book. SO stoked on writing that.

I haven't had to hack major portions yet...so I don't think I understand the pain. But I know if something comes up...you guys will smack me over the head until I CHop! Chop! Chop!

Elaine AM Smith said...

That sounds like a big change but one that will make the read more clearly focussed.
I find trimming therapeutic, when what is left ends up being what I thought I'd written in the first place. :)

Nahno McLein said...

Perfect editing decision. Takes too much time, but will surely proof valuable in the end.
Time to be proud.
Nahno ∗ McLein

Lydia K said...

The chopping that went on with my last WIP was like a murder scene. Hacking, chopping...it was pretty awful.

Hooray for having the clarity of vision to see what's good for your story!

Meredith said...

Oh my goodness, I hate chopping! But after every first draft, I cut more than half of what I've written--I don't know why, but my revisions are ridiculously hardcore. It's such a hard decision, but at least you know it's the right one!

Rachael Harrie said...

Aw hugs, that's so brave of you! And I'll bet you're right, it will make your MS so much stronger. I've been doing major rewrites on my WIP too, killing my babies so to speak. Onwards and upwards for both of us :)

Hugs,

Rach

Ellie said...

I've not had to make that hard a decision yet but don't envy you having to do it. If you gut instinct says it has to go, then it has to go!

Good luck with your re-writes.

Talli Roland said...

Oh yes. YES! In fact, I usually end up doing a major hack at some point. I've chopping POVs, storylines, plot points... sigh. I feel your pain!

alexia said...

Yes, definitely been through the aha moment followed by the chop. It does take time, but well worth it. Good luck!

Donea Lee said...

I've had to do this - too much exposition, I guess. I had it in my head that my MC's life in her home town really needed to be played out so that it would show how different things are for her when she goes away. Some of the scenes I really loved. It was hard to let go - but, it gets her to the action sooner, which is a good thing. (I hope!) I'm sure the focus you're giving your WiP will make it all the better. Best of luck with the revisions! :)

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Jennifer Shirk said...

It IS hard!! And I always doubt myself so I'll cut out stuff and save it in a folder in case I need to add it back. I never do, but it makes me feel better to still have it. LOL

Regina said...

I have been where you are. It is hard to give up a POV that you thought was important to the book at one time. Now you are making it more concise by what you are doing. I had to do it too. I wasn't happy about it but it had to be done. Best wishes.