Cutting Nita, Act Three: Where the Hell Was I Going With This?

Before anybody asks, no I haven’t cut Act Two yet.  I’m fairly happy with Act One, and Act Four is going to need very little rewriting and no cutting because it’s already short, thank god, so it’s Act Two and Act Three that I have to cut anywhere from seventy to eighty pages from.  Each.  As Button would say, Crap.

Act Two is going to be the real bitch, so I skipped ahead to Act Three, thinking it would be a piece of cake since it could be divided into the Three Faces of Nick: 1858, 1934, 1981.  And if it were Nick’s book, it would be easy. But it’s Nita’s book, which means that even though I can keep those three divisions, they have to be about Nita, not Nick.  I even broke the damn act on the wrong turning point.  I had it the scene where Nick collapses from being poisoned, but Nita doesn’t find out about it until several scenes later.  So the scene where Nita realizes Nick isn’t Nick any more and she’s alone again, is the turning point.  Except I never really wrote that scene, at least not that way.

So now I must rethink this act.  

Crap.

The rest of this post is me thinking out loud, and you know how that goes: disjointed and boring.  Feel free to stop reading now.  

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I Can’t Quit This

Executioner from Arthur Rackam’s 1007 illustration for Alice, and my spiritual editor.

August 5, 2019, 1:19
So I got all ready to cut the home invasion scene and chickened out.  There’s stuff in there that I don’t know how to do elsewhere–the first horrified mention of Button, the entrance of Joyce the Cat, Nita taking the fall for Button and beginning their relationship, Frank as an important character–plus without this I have pages of Talk.  I like Talk.  I’ll spend my entire story just doing Talk if nobody stops me, but Talk Kills Story, so I need action, bodies in motion, Aristotle insists on it, so . . . 

Damn.  I know Faulkner said to kill your darlings, but have you read Faulkner?  Darlings all over the place.  

So today, I find something else to cut in that damn first act, so I can do the second act tomorrow.  Think of this as a live blog of the Reduction of Act One.  Not that that’s not what the whole blog has been about for weeks.  Argh.  But first I have to eat lunch and take the dogs for their Carl Moment. (Carl is the neighbor who lives two doors down who has a darling Yorkie named Jackson and who gives them cookies and pats and tells them they’re Good Dogs.  It’s the high point of their day.). But then, we’re cutting Act One. BRB.

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Echoes and Sharpies

Krissie bought me a pack of colored Sharpies the last time she was here and I’ve been working them like crazy, trying to track the echoes in Nita.  “Echoes” is not a technical term, but “motif” isn’t right for this and repetition is too general.  What I’m talking about here, folks, is a scene that recurs, shifting each time to arc a character or plot point.  For example . . .

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The Other Discovery Draft I’m Keeping

It’s way too short, it’s missing a lot of information, and it ends abruptly (Discovery Draft!) but this one stays, too, with much rewriting in it’s future.  There’s the scene in the apartment with Lily, then the non-scene with the marriage chat, and then Nita goes to work and this stuff happens.  Can I get some agreement now that marriage chat has to go because nothing happens in it?  Thank you.

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Discovery Draft: Why I Was Researching Las Vegas

Since I opened that can of worms by mentioning Las Vegas, here’s the discovery draft of that scene.  You’ll notice that it’s completely unstructured, starts abruptly, rambles, and then just stops; that’s because it’s a discovery draft.  I know it’s terrible.  I haven’t revised it even once.  This is raw Crusie.  And I may decide to cut the whole thing and write a new breakfast scene (there are a lot of breakfast scenes, six I think) with no proposal, so it’s just a placeholder for now.  But this is what happened while I was writing, and why I researched Las Vegas and then discarded it.  

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