Literary Infanticide

After losing a lot of writing time due to my commitments to the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, I finally got back to work last week on Action Figures – Issue Three: Pasts Imperfect. It was tough getting back into a writing groove after several weeks of barely touching the manuscript, but soon enough, I was in full-on writer mode and managed to finish a fairly pivotal scene.

Which I then deleted.

The bit in question was part of a subplot involving Matt, who I put through the wringer in book three. The scene involved a scuffle with another student, which was there to show how Matt is falling apart under the stress of his situation (sorry to be vague, but I don’t want to spoil anything). The scene itself was fine, until I started wondering where it went from there.

I hate it when characters escape the consequences of their actions, and I didn’t want Matt’s schoolyard scrap to pass without repercussions — and there would have been serious repercussions in this case, repercussions that could not be avoided or casually dismissed without it coming off as a flagrant cop-out on my part. However, once addressed, those consequences would have followed Matt throughout the rest of the story, and could have thrown off other elements of the plot.

I tried re-writing the scene a few times, hoping to make it work, but ultimately came to the decision that the story didn’t need it that badly, so I engaged in the age-old writer’s tradition of killing my baby. It actually wasn’t that hard to pull the trigger.

And then I had to so it again, and this time, it hurt.

Another planned subplot would have ended with a resolution, of a sort, to the tension between Matt and Sara. I really wanted to deal with it sooner rather than later, because I dislike “will they or won’t they” romantic subplots in general, but I outright loathe them when they get dragged out, so I was hellbent on addressing it in book three, and addressing the outcome in book four.

Then I realized that it was one subplot too many and needed to go, or else the story as a whole would have been cluttered and bloated. I’m consoling myself with the knowledge that a critical scene that addresses this subplot, which I’d already written, is not gone forever, but will return in book four — which, really, is a better home for it — but it still stung to make the call to pull it.

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