This weekend I got out the big shears and did some major pruning of the first six chapters of my first novel. This section started out 31 pages long and ended up 25 pages long. On Sunday, at the next meeting of my Novel-In-Progress group, I will be handing out copies of these 25 pages, or at least that’s the plan.
As I pruned my novel, I thought about the difference in pruning “styles” evidenced by the bushes at the front door of my house. I pruned the bush on the left, Mr. H pruned the bush on the right. Eliminating 1/5 of the first 31 pages felt a lot like I was pruning the bush on the left, bringing the story down to its barest of bare bones. Er, I mean branches. Fig(urative) branches. I’m trying to find peace with my novel.
Did I go too far? The critiquers/reviewers will surely tell me. I targeted passive verbs, redundant phrases and content that didn’t move the story along. I pared words, sentences, paragraphs.