For the past three years I’ve have struggled with the character of Dana Barrington. From the moment her addition seemed providential inspired, I’ve wanted to keep her in the book. I’ve twisted and turned the story and 9 different directions in order to keep her, only to return to my initial conclusion made several years ago: I’ve got to cut Dana Barrington.
I’m in the midst of my 3rd full edit of Damen and found myself almost screaming in frustration over a slow point in the book. This slow point involves surrounds not only Dana, but also my other beloved character of Amber MacDonaugh. While extricating Amber from the plot is near impossible as she defines the characters of several others so well, removing Dana will not only free up a good 10K or more words from my word count, her removal will also leave me with a little more wiggle room to focus on other characters.
If I wasn’t so very fatigued at the moment, I’d probably cry, but I’m trying to stay positive. Dana is a fully shapened character now who, while not immediately useful in Damen, may possibly find a place in another project; she’s not lost forever, just to this story. While I’m losing my only link from Flight, perhaps in the long-run, this will keep me from getting sued down the line. Who knows, right?
The more I re-re-read and edit this book, the more necessary it is to cut her. In exchange, I will be able to keep nearly all of the drama regarding the college visit, including Xavier’s colourful speech regarding politics and I will be able to streamline the story. By downplaying Amber and removing Dana, the book rests on the shoulders of Damen, Brit, Corey, Jessie, Angel, Anthony, and Anthony’s family. It sounds like a lot because it is and winding Dana’s story within a host of characters who are already related was, while a noble and artistically challenging task, still unnecessary.
Phew…I feel better about this already. I stand at around 131K at the moment and I think I’ll stop with damen10g here in the 20-something’th chapter, begin with damen11h (or 11k, I don’t really like the letters h, i, or j) and get started editing this thing with the focus on removing Dana and reducing Amber.
Onward and upward!
Edit: So, in trying to completely cut Dana today, I came upon her introduction which not only provided an nice interlude that introduces us to one of Brit’s brothers, gives insight on Damen’s history with social workers, helps display more of Jessie Clarke’s character, and shows how Damen interacts with girls who aren’t Brit and Jessie. So, despite all my above clairvoyance, I’ll not be able to remove her as entirely as I’d hoped. I’ve done too good a job at entangling her with the rest of the story, but I’m determined with damen11h to ring in her character. Her scattering throughout the rest of the book just feels overwhelmingly desperate, so while she’ll still appear in her own chapter, her interaction with Damen will be more like that of Tabitha Laird or Tatum Price; mentioned once, serves her purpose and never mentioned again.
…I can’t help a little joy over the best compromise I’ve made with regard to writing in the longest while. 🙂