Chasing Butterflies

I’m about twenty percent through a rewrite of my book, although some people have told me that I’m doing a heavy edit.  I call it a rewrite because there are some plot elements I am still revising.  One plot element was a conversation between the female protagonist and two of her friends.  No matter what I did, the conversation was problematic at best and illogical on multiple levels at worst. So after many suggestions on how to fix it, I did what I thought was the easiest thing.  I cut it.

Little did I know what I was setting myself up for.

Rereading that chapter, it flows much better.  The story will be stronger without it, and it adds a few plot twists I can use in future books.  I declared that section done and moved on to the next scene.  I discovered a reference to the deleted conversation.  I excised it and continued on.   Easy enough to do.  Then I found not only was I editing the little references to the conversation, but references to conversations about the original conversation.  That was when I had a flash of insight.  The 50,000 words I had written for NaNoWriMo 2013 had their roots in the conversation I had just deleted.

Head, meet desk.  Repeatedly.

It’s the butterfly effect, only with words instead of wind.  A butterfly flaps his wings in Brazil and sets off a tornado in Texas. Each change sets off a cascade of other changes. I was seeing that effect first hand cascading through my story.

After I finished banging a head sized dent in my desk, I sat back and started assessing the damage.  The NaNoWriMo story can be salvaged.  I will have to approach the underlying motivation from a different angle.  While I consider that, I will continue to edit out references to the deleted scene and try to prevent other butterflies from flapping their wings.

About Sheryl R. Hayes

Author. Knitter. Costumer.

This entry was posted in Writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Chasing Butterflies

  1. It’s amazing how even a minor revision can affect the entire tone of a story. I’ve cut entire scenes or made minor edits to a character’s behavior that changed the reader’s perception of the entire story. (Or so I’ve been told by beta readers.) Great post!

Comments are closed.