It’s 3:50 on Tuesday afternoon, August 6, I have gone out and stocked up on Diet Coke (and bok choy and mushrooms, but that’s another story) and I still haven’t cut much from Act One because even though I know that complication sequence with the 8000 words must be cut back savagely, I like everything in it. Well, I’m a big fan of my writing, so I would. So accepting that I’m going to be cutting things I like, the next step is to winnow darlings, aka The Parts I Like That People Will Probably Skip.
A darling per William Faulkner is something in your story that you love that isn’t necessary. (He also may have been thinking of those parts where you went overboard at the Great Writer thing and should have slapped yourself for being pretentious and annoying, but for the purposes of this blog post, it’s about what’s necessary.). As writers, we tend to feel that anything we love is necessary, but this is unfortunately not true. So at this point, we’re down to “What’s necessary?” And there is necessary stuff in this ginormous sequence, it’s just necessary for me to set-up the next three acts, not essential to the story in the now. Which means it has to go and I’ll have to fold in that info somewhere else or do without. So what’s in that sequence that I (think I) need?
• The Mayor threatens Nick: The Mayor as a threat. and a block to the romance, the Mayor knows about demons, Nita’s mother is lethal, Nick’s going to see Nita again anyway.
It’s important to keep hitting Nita’s mother as dangerous because the reveal in Act Two is so ridiculous. I like the Mayor as a character, particularly as he functions in Nita’s father plot, but I’m not sure he’s utilized enough to get this scene. OTOH, his knowing about demons adds another layer to the mystery, and this does strengthen the romance, albeit very slightly. Argh. Not sure about this.
• The Captain interrogates Button: Intros the Captain, Button’s loyalties are tested, somebody is sabotaging Nita
I need a Button PoV scene, but I got that in the car in the home invasion sequence. I can intro the Captain in her scene with Nita. Might be able to get a lot of this in the “Nita and Button confer” scene, which is also a Button PoV. I think this has to go, although I do like the way Button sticks up for Nita here.
• Nick asks Vinnie about Nita and her family: Nick’s background, which s going to show up in the Nita and Button confer scene. Nick’s feeling of pity for Vinnie, showing his shift to human. Vinnie’s suit. Nick’s conversation with Belia to set up what’s going on in Hell. The Mr. Crome set-up. Jimmy is missing set-up.
Yeah, this is all over the place. Nick’s just checking in before he goes out to investigate, so I can cut a lot of this. Not sure how important Jimmy the ghost is here, so can probably cut that. Mr. Crome disappears after Act One, but I like him; still, either find a function for him in the later acts or cut him (argh).
• The Captain interrogates Nita: Sabotage, weird duty.
This is more pressure on Nita and has to be set-up; maybe up the conflict and get in the info that was in the Button scene?
• Nita and Button confer: Nick in history, Nita and Button working together.
This is important because of the Nita and Button working together bit, their part of the team forming. And the history is the set-up for Act Three and it has to be in here although I can cut it back. There must be a way to combine this with the Lily and Jason scene that comes later and cut most of one of them.
• Nick walks through Deville, sees the Municipal Building:
I can cut this back. It’s just a fun list of business names ending with the Municipal Building that looks like the Pandemonium.
• Nita and Button talk to Jason and Lily.
Yeah, move this up to the previous Button and Nita team scene.
• Nita interrogates Vinnie: She gets confirmation of Nick’s back story, invitation to lunch, his itinerary, and scares Rab when he realizes who she is.
I can do all but “scares Rab” in a summary sentence. I’ll lose stuff, but nothing crucial
• Nick talks to Marvella at the Historical Society: History of the island, the four demons who started it all, intro Marvella and Cecily, the book Nick takes to Hell . . .
Just cut this back.
And now I must get the garbage out before it starts to rain. Also the dogs are full of cheeseburger and must be emptied. One damn thing after another.