Killing My Plot Darlings

I just had to make a call with my Coldfire novel. In previous drafts, my characters were jet-setting all across the world to find several magical plot devices. They end up travelling to three different overseas locations and, frankly, after about seven drafts of this, I was getting sick of it. I just changed one of their destinations to something much closer to home and had to cut 7k that I’d already written for this particular draft.

I’m still in the middle of writing the replacement plot point and it’s 5k longer than the equivalent place in my previous draft, but without all the extra travel, which ultimately cuts out a random fight scene, it should balance out in subsequent chapters. I’m also changing what they find and what they’re doing at one of the locations I’ve kept. I might end up cutting the third. Not sure yet.

The new location holds far more emotional significance for the protagonist and allows me to bring in some backstory that probably would’ve been relegated to a later book otherwise. I’ve had an unfortunate habit of concealing this character’s backstory beyond what is reasonable, because drama. I’m doing away with some of that. This is a backstory-heavy draft, so I’ll likely end up cutting some of it on my next pass, but at least it’s there.

This is the first draft with the protagonist as a lesbian rather than a straight male, so it’s also exploratory in nature. While fundamentally similar to her previous incarnations, her gender and sexuality have altered how she relates to the world on a number of fronts. Also, without the thread of heteronormativity holding the main romance together, I can’t rely on the assumption that the leading man and woman will get together, given there is no longer a leading man. This makes me work harder for the romance I want to achieve, which, honestly, will make it far more powerful in the end.

I’m hoping to get this draft under 100k, since the previous one sat at 102k, because I don’t want to make this book harder to sell than it needs to be. I’ll need one or two more editing passes anyway so I won’t be too upset if it doesn’t happen. There’s quite a lot of plot and setting to deal with, so this is never going to be a particularly short novel, but cutting some of the unnecessary plot will keep it tolerable for readers. I hope.

Happy Easter!


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