What Happens When You Trash Half Your Novel

Last night I deleted more than half of my novel. Yes, you read that right. Yes, it was a bit traumatizing. Honestly? It was for the best. Was I scared? Hell yes.

But I realized that what I had written was pretty much garbage (not something I would like to admit, especially with what time I have spent on it). That’s not to say that the writing was garbage, because I don’t think it was. I just hadn’t taken a step back from my plot long enough to realize that I was starting my novel WAY too far in advance from the real story (for more about writing beginnings, check out my post Let’s *NOT* Start at the Very Beginning…).

I, however, cut much more than just the beginning. I removed an entire second POV, which is where half my novel came to die. And I’m not exaggerating. I had roughly 30,000 words at the time (not finished, mind you) and after all the deletion of just the POV, I was left with around 16,000 words. Then I deleted all the beginning crap that was SO unnecessary and was left with around 10,000 words.

Yes, I deleted 20,000 words of my novel and do not regret deleting a single word (yet).

This is my first novel attempt (ignoring weird chapter by chapter things I used to write on FictionPress). I don’t think trashing half of that is bad – especially since my very first draft was for NaNoWriMo two  years ago (which was also completely scrapped).

I think that because I have never done a novel length work before, that I wasn’t entirely sure what sort of plot was necessary to carry it to the level it needed to be at. And as I work on it, it’s getting clearer.

Nothing is 100% figured out now, and I don’t really expect it to ever be. I think that’s part of being a writer. You never really know what  you are doing all the time. But that’s okay. I love learning and learning as I go.

Here’s to rewriting and completing this next draft!

Feature image by Turinboy on Flickr.


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