I know. It’s blasphemous. As a writer, whether published or not, deleting words is the hardest thing in the world to do. I could easily wax lyrical about every word being a beloved child but that’s simply not the case. Every word is another soldier for the grinder, driving you towards your goal. But not every battle can be won. Sometimes sacrifice is needed.
My latest writing project (which I’ll go into more detail about at some point) was going really well until the 40,000 word mark at which point I dramatically changed the direction of the story. The main characters went from being survivors to action heroes. I suppose I wanted more to happen in the plot but in doing so I belied the original intention of the book and made caricatures of my protagonists.
Yet I ploughed on into new plot developments, all the while worrying about where it was going. Before I knew it I had reached 60,000 words. But I wasn’t happy, and I felt that I was in too deep now to really turn back. I was stuck between not being able to carry on and not wanting to get rid of everything I’d written.
I remained in this no-man’s land for ages. Never writing, never reading. Always thinking about it. Then I bit the bullet. I deleted it. I knew the point that it all changed and I deleted everything I’d written after that point. Then I read through it and deleted more. I went on a delete-fest. I deleted myself raw. If the delete button had a mind it would…
Well I suppose it would have an existential crisis, not unlike this one:
But less fruit orientated.
When the red haze dissipated I was left with around 35,000 words. With my goal being around the 80,000 word mark this set me back considerably. But that doesn’t matter: because I’m writing again. Not much I admit. It’s slow going. I’m restructuring everything. Re-reading and editing as I go.
It’s bloody difficult. But not half as hard as what my characters are going through. And without me they’ll never get to the end. So I guess it’s the least I could do…
– Zero Nine