A a writer, one of the most difficult tasks we have to perform is surgery. No, we are not removing the odd appendix in our spare time to pay for editing and covers (though that’s not a bad idea), but we are removing scenes that don’t contribute to the greater good of the novel. Most of the time, it’s more painful for us than it is for the novel. This week, author Anjie Haarte shares one of her deletions and why she decided to make the cut.
To Delete or not to Delete
I write by the seat of my pants. Hmmm, didn’t I say that already on this tour? Okay, I promise this post is not about that. Actually, it is about how that sort of writing leads to me using the delete button a lot. I wrote An Unexpected Desire a chapter a week for the story blog. Somewhere along the line, I ended up writing in a scene from “The Vow”, except the character didn’t lose her memory in a car accident; it was choked out of her. Yep, you read right, she was strangulated until oxygen no longer ran to her brain and she went into a coma that caused her to lose a period in her memory. Then she went back with her previous lover, which in that story was the one who used her to get up in her career. Then they whisked off to Trinidad and Tobago where they ended up in a fight that left the main character hanging from the balcony of a hotel on top of the cliff. Here is a look at a piece of that scene:
“Before Fiona realized it, she had been grabbed by her hair and wrenched into the room. She felt her body being swung from the door to the other end of the room as she cried out from the pain of her hair being pulled. Nyasha reached for the bedside lamp and headed towards Fiona who was standing a little way from the glass sliding door of the balcony.
“What are you going to do with that, electrify me?” Fiona asked as Nyasha threw the lamp at her. She ducked to avoid it and moved quickly out the way ending up in the doorway to the balcony. When she rose up she didn’t get enough time to react as Nyasha plunged at her and grabbed her by the neck forcing her to take steps backward. Soon her body was pressing against the rim of the balcony ledge as Nyasha tightened her grip on her throat. Fiona looked into Nyasha’s face and saw her eyes were red with fury and she gritted her teeth as she tried to channel all her strength into the act of strangling Fiona. Fiona reacted by kicking out her knee at Nyasha and in one movement Nyasha bent over to avoid the knee and gave Fiona one hard push against the chest that sent her over the balcony. Fiona quickly grabbed onto the ledge, screaming for her life as she did. Nyasha was thrown back into the balcony colliding into the furniture as Fiona was now hanging from the balcony, with only her fingers grabbing on to the edge.”
Why did I delete those scenes from the novel? Because I wanted it to be a romance novel and that just didn’t seem to fit into anymore. Yes, I went to Trinidad for a weekend and researched exactly where these characters would be staying and what moving around Trinidad is like. I also researched the condition that occurs when lack of oxygen in the brain causes one to lose their memory, it is called: Cerebral Hypoxia.
So, I continued to do my edits along the line of the romance novel, the two women meet, fall in love, deny it, a misunderstanding arise that cause them to face their feelings and in a few more words they are together. But, that doesn’t sit right with me. Sure I want it to be hot and steamy; I want it to show the romance between the characters but can I honestly live with deleting a scene that shows the true intentions of this character. The character continues to tell me that she isn’t the goody goody person I am writing about and that she has ulterior motives and I SHOULD NOT DELETE THEM. What am I to do?
The plot keeps feeling wrong, like it isn’t complete or interesting enough without that cliff hanger scene so I SHOULD NOT DELETE THEM.
So what do I end up doing? Do I delete the scenes because they don’t fall into what a romance novel is about? Or do I keep them and be true to the story?
I guess you’ll have to wait for the book to be released to find out.
Anjie Harrte is a twenty nine year old mother of one who resides in sunny Guyana, South America. Sometime between running a small business, having a full-time job and being a mother and partner she finds time to pursue her passion for creating stories. Anjie dreams up stories of contemporary fiction splashed with some romance, a little dose of murder or an ounce of suspense and sometimes when no one is looking she dashes in a little twist. When she isn’t doing any of that, she is decorating a cake, knitting a chair back or sewing her latest design. Anjie even finds time to lurk around and stalk people and pages on facebook and you too can stalk her if you like at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anjie-Harrte/ or you can follow her on twitter @anjieharrte or keep updated with her writing at http://authoranjieharrte.blogspot.com/