There is an expression, almost cliched, that writers know well – Killing Your Darlings. In essence, it means that in the final (or even first, if ruthless) edit, scenes, characters, dialogue, which I’m attached to for whatever reason, but which do not move the plot along, usually have to go on the cutting room floor.
While my novel is still a work-in-progress (82K words and counting), I’ve polished the first few chapters. Early on, I had a second chapter focussing on the Indian servants of Flora’s household as they go about their day. It was intended to act as a foil to the goings on of the British family. However, almost all of the characters would not reappear again in the novel. I even had a sinking gut feeling as I wrote the chapter (as a series of vignettes) that it would be cut in the end. But I loved this chapter the most!
Some readers aren’t fans of vignettes, feeling they don’t have enough time with the character to engage with them or care enough about them, but peering through a window into people’s lives, to me, is a fascinating exercise in illuminating, comparing and contrasting multiple perspectives and experiences.
I am going to post a few of these deleted vignettes, as I think they still have a purpose in giving a flavour of the tone and setting of my novel.
If you’re a writer, what scenes have you had the most trouble parting with?