31 237 is currently the number of words on the cutting room floor.
59 258 words that have been edited and are being kept (currently)
37 448 words that have to be gone through and edited. Keep Vs. Don’t keep. Tweak and merge VS slash all together. Re-order, re-order, re-order. And some drafting because I am doing alternating POV’s and I need to make sure it balances.
This is what you hear about when you want to become a writer and you don’t believe it. You think that every word you write is gold and you will keep it all, and it will all come out magically in order and completely perfect the first time.
Okay, maybe not you, but I definitely thought that before I got into it really truly.
And you know the great thing about those rose tinted glasses, was that they allowed me to start and keep on going. To even, when I realized that reality had shifted, and things where messier and harder than I thought, I kept going anyways, because now I was in too deep. Now quitting is an affront to all of the effort that younger naive Julia has already put in.
Older more mature Julia knows the dangers. Knows that here there be dragons, but she’s levelled up and packed a tool kit that she thinks can handle the job. I have a sword for slashing and slaying the words that don’t work. I have some potions to heal the parts that need some TLC. I have some fairy dust, to shine and make fly the parts that need to soar. I have a light to see my way through the dark. And a compass to find the direction of the novel, even when it is tangled and all feels lost.
Writing is a choose your own adventure novel, except you’re in charge, and you need to cut the bits that don’t fit. Even if the banter is amazing. Even if the writing is superb. Even if the colours look amazing but clash with the rest of the decor. Sometimes clashing is the point, sometimes it’s not. Knowing that difference is experience.
My novels is at least 31 237 words of how not to write a novel. But it is also 31 237 words of figuring out how to write a novel. It is 31 237 words of not giving up and trying something new. Of finding a different way around that curve in the bend up ahead.
There is this scene, that I spent days working on, possibly weeks, when I first thought of this book. I LOVE this scene. This is the first kiss scene. You know where it lies? On the cutting room floor. Because I had to go back and write my way around and up to that point, and once I got to that point, I had so much other meat, that that point was no longer relevant and I was making altogether a different point there.
I have started this novel so many times. At least twice before now. In different incantations has this novel lived. But the plot wasn’t right. I didn’t quite have the heart of it. The whose who that would make this tick. The clock that drove Hook crazy. So I scrape those too.
What I’m telling you is don’t quite. It’s harder than you thought, yes, 100% yes. But it is also more worth it than you thought too. Because of all of the parts that didn’t work, I’m more determined to make the parts that do work shine. I know what skeletons lie slayed beneath them. I know what blood sacrifices that have come before. At least 31 237 of them.