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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cutting the First Forty Six Pages of a Novel

It happens every time. Every time I write a novel I end up cutting the first quarter of the book and I wonder why that is. When I wrote Tobacco Sticks I think I cut seventy five pages before I said that is where the novel begins. And you would think six books later I could stop this needless exercise but it happened again. I was rewriting and I realized the first forty six pages had to go. Now why is this?

Because it would seem the store is given away too early. Or maybe I cant find the characters for a while or maybe I just need to warm up for forty six pages before I can really find the book. Hard to say but there is no doubt these pages have to go. The consequence of not cutting the pages is a not only a slowed book but a flawed one. Truly less is more can be applied here.

But maybe it is just where the voice of the novel kicks in and this can take some time. Many times you start writing about one thing and end up writing about something else entirely and usually that one thing is in the first forty pages.  So you really have two different books and then it is an easy choice. If sixty thousand words are written one way and twenty thousand written another then it is very easy to know what is going under the chopping block.

The twenty thousand.

Books by William Hazelgrove