Killing Your Babies: In Memoriam
When you have to cut a 124,000 word manuscript to something closer to 95,000 words, you are past the point where little line-edits and cutting the occasional paragraph of description will actually make much of a difference. To cut those 30,000 words, you need to actually make substantive changes to a novel. Plotlines need to be dropped. Characters need to disappear.
People will tell you that this is hard because you are so attached to these sequences, and this is true. With practice, though, that isn’t the part that bothers you so much – what needs to go, needs to go. What bothers you is how you can replace what was there without taking up the same space. You need to figure out how to stitch together the remnants of the work so that everything still works. You need to build a smaller, sleeker Frankenstein, but one that can still rip down houses and bellow warnings about fire.
Book 3 of The Saga of the Redeemed is undergoing the cut I mentioned above. Right now, I’m really sweating getting it to come under the 100K maximum limit, since I’m finding a lot of the stuff I take out still needs to be put back in somehow, and doing so while making everything shorter is worrying me. I plan (plan) to have this draft done by the end of the week and then have it sent off to beta readers (who hopefully will read it in short order). This edit has been a brutal process, and so I wanted to pause for a moment to memorialize the people I’ve deleted to make this edit possible.
Aeschen O’Deva, Devious Ihynish Trader
Aeschen used to be a major villain in the book until the editing shears came for him. He was cartoonishly short, indulgent of all vices, overly fond of slurping sardines, and afflicted with a wildly unsettled stomach and, possibly, an ulcer. He walked around with a deathcaster up his sleeve and had a bad temper. Fond of insulting and humiliating his henchmen, he was to eventually come to a bad end.
Aeschen was hard to cut, if simply because he was so central to the plot and much of what he did needed to be replaced by others. Sadly, he had to go. Too many scenes of him plotting in coaches while hitting people with his wig. Alas, you will never get to hear him call his underlings “mud-sucking shit goblins.”
I know. I know.
Uwin Voth, Thostering Mercenary
Voth was O’Deva’s hired muscle – a mercenary of such quality that his asking price was astronomical, but his loyalty and honor was without stain. Sadly, he was stuck working for the greedy, underhanded O’Deva, whom the mercenary himself referred to as an “arse-stain of a human being.” Voth was a match for Tyvian’s formidable dueling skills, as good a hunter as Hool, and a consummate professional. A man pitted against our heroes, but one whom demanded respect anyway.
Sadly, there just isn’t enough space in the novel to watch this noble creature get belittled and wig-slapped by O’Deva over and over again. His final vengeance, likewise, is now lacking. Too bad, too – he had a damned fine moustache.
Hemrick, Saldorian Famulus to the Reldamars
What is an ancient sorerous family without a live-in assistant (or famulus)? Hemrick was supposed to be the Alfred of the Reldamar family – loyal, hyper-competent, fittingly sarcastic, and appropriately mysterious. The thing is, though, that he was a bit part, ultimately. We just don’t have time for such clichés, do we? Why would Lyrelle Reldamar employ a living, breathing famulus when she can summon djinn and daemons to do her bidding, instead. Blame sorcerous out-sourcing, but Hemrick had to be let go. We thank him for his service and hope he will send us a note when he lands safely elsewhere.
Honestly, I don’t miss this guy. Neither will you.
Anyway, there they are, together comprising a *lot* of words that are now not in my novel. Hopefully it will be enough and perhaps – just maybe – these fellows will work their way back into the series at a later date.
Well, all except for Hemrick. Sarcastic butlers are sooo done. Shame on me for even putting one in.