Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Cutting the Squirrel

No. It's not a euphemism for something dirty. Trust me. I double-checked on Urban Dictionary. It might, however, be my new Cutting One's Darlings equivalent.

I had a lovely chat with my adorable and way-too-perceptive-for-her-age editor about my WIP. I'd had a chat back with another editor at Ace when we went to contract for the book. She'd really had only one real objection. It had to do with the squirrel.

I hate squirrels. I'm terrified of them and I'm pretty convinced they're out to get me. They're constantly dashing out across the bike path trying to knock me off my bike. I know people think they're cute, but they attack children, set cars on fire, cause car accidents and may even be involved in espionage.

It was one of those happy writing accidents when I was researching Norse mythology for my third Messenger novel and stumbled across Ratatoskr. He's supposed to be quite the gossip and I figured he could help me get information from one place to another and would also help me work through some of Squirrel issues. I mean, isn't one of the points of writing fiction to basically get cheap therapy?

Alas, I must cut Ratatoskr. Apparently, he doesn't "resonate." Also, I already have crows and some oxen in the book and my editor felt like it was turning into a something like a Disney movie gone terribly wrong. I don't think it will be terribly hard to fill the plot holes his disappearance will make, but I have to admit I'm a little bummed to leave him. I mean, just because he didn't resonate in a synopsis doesn't mean that he won't resonate just fine in the actual book. Sadly, he won't have the chance. I must cut the squirrel.

Have you had to cut any personal squirrels?


Molly O'Keefe said...

Oh I want to think about this...I was actually able to save something my editor wanted to cut on this super I'm working on - which filled me with great power and hope for about one second and then I was struck dumb with panic thinking she was probably right and I should cut it... there's just no winning.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Cutting is a problem. This is why I should not be allowed to self-publish - which by the way is turning into WAAAAAY more work than I bargarined for.

Sinead acurately told me to cut the the first 2/3 of the book. I can see now where she is totally correct....

But I cannot cut... alas.

I just get so tied to the story as it is that the idea of lifting something out makes it feel like it's not the story I had in my head.

I would be afraid to write that story.

But I think ultimately - my inability to make the "big" change is why all my historicals have failed.

Eileen said...

I had one book where I had to cut a set of characters and an entire subplot. I thought it would be a nightmare, but they popped out like they'd never been there. That was one of those times that I knew it was good to cut them.

I'm going to miss that squirrel. I'd planted hints about him in the earliest pages. I thought I was being quite clever. Shows what I know.

Maureen McGowan said...

I've done this of my own volition a few times, but haven't been forced to by and editor yet. But that just speaks to my relative inexperience at this point.

But I share your hatred of squirrels!

Rats with fluffy tails.

They cause so much damage to houses in Toronto and when I plant tulip bulbs (might this week) I refer to them as squirrel snacks...

Eileen said...

Serena Robar has started giving me bizarre squirrel gifts including a pair of squirrel underpants (http://squirrelunderpants.com/) because the poor little things don't even know they're naked.

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