Cutting A Scene. It’s Like Surgery. And Gardening.

So, I am working on a rewrite of my latest novel. I’m really excited about the concept, and I have a lot of fun scenes that I’ve already written and am trying to cobble together into a coherent tapestry of story. It’s going to be so fun!

But in the meantime, I’m really struggling at page 155. There’s a 27-page scene that I wrote in the first draft and really liked, but then cut out of the second and third draft, and now in the 4th, I’m seeing that it might work well after all.

So I put it in. And I edited the heck out of it so it would fit the ways my characters have evolved since that first NaNoWriMo draft months ago. It’s got some new, zippy dialogue I love, and I think the “scenery” is really fun.

However…now that it’s in there, I’m getting uneasy about it again. It’s a good scene. BUT, I fear the little jaunt the two main characters are on might be slowing the pace. It also might contain three major clues to the three major secrets the guy is hiding from the girl. And I don’t want to reveal those yet. I guess I could go through and pull them out again, but … is it worth it?

This scene. It’s bugging me. I want to love it where it is. I wish it could fit there.

But it doesn’t.

It’s kind of like gardening. There are sometimes volunteer wildflowers that come up in the spring in the gravel part of my yard and I end up having to pull them because, while they’re pretty and nice, they just simply don’t fit with the overall look I’m trying to present.

Ha. That’s kind of a disingenuous comparison. I’m a horrible yard tender. And when wildflowers spring up (in the extremely rare event of rain), I often just let them grow, relishing the sight of any plant that isn’t made mostly of thorns.

SO–I guess therein lies my dilemma. I am a wildflower “leaver,” not a wildflower “weeder.” I like wildflowers. I like fun scenes in my book even if they don’t exactly advance the plot in the perfect way.

It’s good to have a perfectly structured story, that moves and pulls the reader along. But then again, there are stories where the joy is really in the journey. Sometimes as a reader I don’t really care exactly where the tale is leading, it’s just the ride is so fun that I’m going to read it anyway.

I’m not saying I’m that kind of a writer. (I’d love to be.) The kind that a reader will just go lah-di-dah-ing along with the writing because it’s so well done, not caring where the plot goes. But this story I’m working on has so many fun nooks and alcoves it could take, I hate to have to cut any out.

So I’m cutting it. For now. But I’m not deleting it. (Never!) I’ll just hide it away in an archive pile (my friend calls her archive pile “the slag heap”) until I get all wishy washy about that scene again and can decide whether to put it back in again.

If a book were a DVD, I could put it in as a “bonus feature,” under “deleted scenes.” With digital books, why can’t we do that, anyway?

Whew. Rant complete. (Somebody please tell me what to do.)