Sunday, May 18, 2008

Just Take Him Out

By Marcia Mickelson

I'm going through some edits for my current novel which is finished. Kind of. It has been finished for a while now, except that there's so much wrong with it. Maybe not so much, but definitely a lot that needs to be fine tuned. This is my fourth edit, and I just received a lot of feedback from my sister. She sent me a copy of my manuscript where she wrote notes. And, let me tell you she WROTE NOTES! She must have gone through several pens with how much is marked up, which is good. I'm glad she's not afraid to point out all the things that need to be changed.

One major flaw that she and one other person pointed out is with a certain character. I'm so unsure about how much I really want him involved in the the novel and with my main character, and apparently my uncertainty really shows. Both my sister and my friend who read the novel have issues with this character--Chase. And, I know I haven't portrayed him well and his relationship to my main character is not clearly defined. In fact, it's quite a mess, and I think it's because I'm not sure how I feel about Chase.

There is one particular scene with Chase in the book that two readers have questioned why it's not in the book. Aren't you going to show what happens, they ask? No, I say, that happened 'off-screen.' I just want to skip that scene and show what happens after. I just don't want to write that scene. So, my sister finally said, "why don't you just take Chase out?"

So, I thought and thought about this, and I'm just going to take Chase out. I don't think I ever wanted him there to begin with. This does mean more editing and some changing around of the storyline, but it will be for the best. He just doesn't belong in my story, I think.

If something or someone is just not working, don't be afraid to just take him out.


Amanda said...

I can totally get how you're feeling, Marcia. While I, personally, liked Chase, I know that if you, as the author, can't connect with him and his role in the book, he shouldn't be there. I think I put it in one of my posts awhile back, but I'd struggled with my current novel because I couldn't connect with my main character, I just didn't like her, and it made it difficult to write the book when I didn't know enough about her and she didn't feel real or welcome or like she belonged. And you just can't have that for a character who's important to your story. I had to take her out in this rewrite and make a new character (because obviously I can't make a novel without a main character), so I applaud you in being able to remove Chase and fix everything up like he was never there. It takes a lot of strength to have to make a major change like that, but your book will be better if you're not uncertain.

Marsha Ward said...

Good for you for taking Chase out.

Of course this means a lot of rewriting for you, but I know from personal experience that revamping or restructuring a manuscript can make the work much stronger.

Marcia Mickelson said...

Thanks Amanda and Marsha for backing me up. I still haven't started, but it will be a big job going through the whole thing to take him out.