In the last revision of Julius, I threw away an entire chapter. I went back and forth whether I should chuck it or not because there were some darlings I wanted to keep, but more importantly it gave the reader more insight of what type of person Jake is, his yin to Corinne’s yang.
After further analysis I decided to file it away and work on what I showed in earlier chapters. Does that mean I’m still revising the first part? I’m afraid so. Does that mean I won’t finish it by my deadline? I’m afraid so. Does that also mean you’re still researching? No, I think I’m done with that. But now I’m looking at every scene and analyzing whether it has the necessary components to keep or to file away. Does that mean I’m seeking perfection in crafting the story? Again, I’m afraid so.
I tend to be very stubborn and when I have an idea in my head I have this stick-to-it-ness. For example, it took me a very long time to be convinced that backstory could kill a narrative’s pace. Because I was so close to the material and that part of the story, I couldn’t see how it was dragging down the action until I noticed it in other writer’s drafts. Lo and behold, I was giving them the same advice that had been given to me: kill the long exposition, and include some elements of the backstory in dialogue. Something I’m working on and hoping that it sounds natural.
But I’m also grappling with conflict and tension, which is new material that’s in the works. The reactionary character has a much larger role, his job is to discredit the Merry Marxist’s ideology via vengeance because of Corinne spurning him. Another character who shares the same leftist beliefs is just a plain troublemaker and acts more like an Iago, insinuating that Corinne lied about her past and might be having an affair. A lot of stuff to play around with and most likely make more of a mess, but that’s the way to learn: play around with your characters, put them in all sorts of situations and see what works and what doesn’t.
Now it’s time to make a mess. Poor Corinne, she’s due for some big surprises.