Stuff that has to be cut out of a novel

You might remember, in a previous post I talked about first books being autobiographical. I wrote a chapter in Second Stories, which closely mirrored a situation I encountered first hand. I don’t want to be too specific, since I don’t want to share a story all over the whole entire world wide web net thingy such that the person it was patterned after might be identified, but there was a death, and the story of Alice could have happened the way it did, but that part really is fictional.

The chapters about Alice were rejected by my editor, as not having anything to do with the actual novel. I realized he was right, I just liked them. I liked the story of Alice and how she evolved into widowhood, how she dealt with the death of her husband. I have two other chapters about her, and I’d like to share them with my readers so I’ve posted the first one on my website, and also here. Two more coming, about Alice’s adventures with her volunteer work in hospice and an assisted living facility. None of these chapters are in Second Stories.

And it’s a little autobiographical too, since I lost someone once, before I felt it was time to really lose her. And some of the feelings Alice experienced are my own, both because I have been through the loss of a loved one, and because I’ve had what could have been a near-death experience. We change how we view death, when it has been close enough that we confronted it eye-to-eye. It becomes less scary.

Click here to be redirected to Alice

3 thoughts on “Stuff that has to be cut out of a novel

  1. Just read the “Alice” chapter! Fantastic!! Had tears running down my face through most of it – hit pretty close to home in some ways. Haven’t lost a husband, but have recently lost a parent, as you know. And my cat – I know, she wasn’t a person, but she was my ‘baby’, and I still miss both her AND my dad. You did a great job with this – it’s from the ‘gut’, it’s obvious. I’m assuming that Alice was the mother of Geo in “Second Stories”, right? If so, can’t imagine why your editor thought it wouldn’t have anything to do with the novel as a whole. Guess I’ll know more once I’ve read the book – according to Amazon, it’s winging it’s way to me even as I type!! Keep the Alice chapters coming! Maybe you should make those chapters into your next book!

  2. Yes, Alice is the mother of Geo. Thanks for saying what you did, it means a lot to me. Next week I’ll post another chapter about Alice. I’m sure you do miss your dad, he was such a wonderful person. Rarely do you find someone as easy to talk to as your father. And what you said about your cat, is so true. I’m sorry you lost her.

  3. As writers, we have to learn to be so ruthless, don’t we? Every chapter, scene, sentence and word have to add to the story and move the plot forward. I had to cut great chunks out of my own debut novel, and often it takes someone completely impartial to point out which bits need to go.

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