Okay, so you know how you end up writing several pages whether it’s your character’s inner dialogue or between two or more characters, only to find that you need to cut, cut, and cut some more? But what if some of that dialogue is important either to the storyline or the development of the character? I’ve come across this issue in the past, and I am dealing with it as I write chapter 8 of Game of Power. What I found out is that sometimes certain scenes, detail, or dialogue is unnecessary for what the storyline calls for at the moment. Having too much text that doesn’t further along anything at the time can weigh the momentum of the story down. However, the same informational dialogue could be essential for your character’s development. I’ve often had to cut it and add it later either by presenting it differently through the same person, giving the lines to someone else or inserting it in a different chapter. Be careful when adding back in specific details or text so that it doesn’t seem unnatural. Make sure it still flows and doesn’t look out of the ordinary or just placed there for filler purposes.
For example, in my first story Reagan Leeds: Run The World (I won’t give any spoilers away for those who haven’t read it) it was very dialogue heavy and a lot of the chapters were lengthy. Towards the end, there were important conversations that needed to be held between Reagan and other characters that were essential to her story, not just that but required for their development. I had to cut some of Reagan’s inner thoughts and turn them into a conversation she had with someone. Because how would this person know what was on her mind as she was struggling with a family crisis? If I let Reagan drone on and on for an entire page, it would’ve slowed down the pace, but have her openly express her thoughts with others allowed for meaningful banter and things she was able to absorb and reflect on.
I admit many of my chapters could’ve been more heavily edited, but as I grew as a writer, I learned to do these tricks and tips, so the story didn’t come to a complete halt when we got inside Reagan’s head or even some of the other characters who had their POVs.
More recently, in GOP chapter 1.2 The Games Begin when Rico is telling his assistant Cressida about the sexual harassment scandal with Grazier Technology, initially, that was all apart of his inner dialogue and he was only talking to the audience. I needed a way to pull that out and show his relationship as a boss with an employee who’s more than just an employee. Cressida is his go-to person; she knows Rico so well. It also established what Cressida’s role was at Thomas Global Strategies and we can see how things work a bit in their work environment.
I know this was a long post, but I was inclined to write it as I think about the editing process once I’m done with my chapter 8 draft. I’m not in a rush to push the speed of Bella’s story, and her relationships with her family don’t need to be detailed entirely right away. I can give the reader an idea of the Vega family dynamic without dragging out the scene unnecessarily. I hope you enjoy chapter 8.
Thanks and Happy Writing!
Okay, big words as I sit here typing this with a glass a cabernet at just ten after eleven on a Tuesday night protected in my self-made gilded cage. Part of me realizes that writing takes me out of that cage and open to exploring people and topics I am otherwise uncomfortable with when hiding out when I was too scared in the past to allow things that tested my conscience and my faith. As a writer, I know we want to be heard and connect with our audience, at least that’s what I’ve always been told. Yes, I think you should know your audience and appealing to them is certainly a part of the overall “guiding light” to be a great writer. I don’t think we should get so hung up on creating stories or characters we think the masses will flock to. As I began my new project Reign: A Game of Power I knew out the gate I was writing a story I felt an intense desire to tell. I created characters that I felt were realistic and complex like real humans. Not everyone in this world is likable, no one is perfect, and sometimes we do some really messed up things to ourselves and others, myself included. I felt like I had an obligation to be as real and raw as possible. Did I expect people to dislike some of my characters, yes I did, but I didn’t want to sugar coat anything. Do I expect to get backlash for some of my future storylines and subject matter? Yes, I do, and that’s okay because I’m doing a disservice not only to myself but my readers if the only material I put out contains characters and plots that are Disney-perfect. It underestimates the intelligence of the reader when you try to handle the serious subject matter with kid gloves.
I implore anyone who reads this not to get caught up in making characters that are always likable, above reproach and darn near perfect. Do the opposite of what’s expected. Maybe the star of your novel is a sex-crazed foul mouth bitch who sleeps with other women’s husbands, but she’s a really good detective trying to solve her brother’s murder (shameless plug see my character Bella’s bio here), Or maybe your protagonist is a major power player who will sacrifice his scruples to get what he wants. Sure, some of my characters are more likable than others, and some are entirely vile, I know this, and I’m the one writing it, but what I like about each one is that they’re all human with many layers. We’re hypocritical, we’re liars, we step on the little people to get ahead, we can be ruthlessly pragmatic, and sometimes we have sex people for some material gain; maybe we’re not on the street corner doing it, but the exchange can go down in many ways. However, even if some of us are all those things and some of my characters are all those things, the possibility of goodness is not automatically or eternally erased. I write this all to say if you’re not going to be honest in your writing, what’s the point in doing it? Don’t be afraid of harsh criticism or potential backlash. Be raw, be bold, but don’t be scared to put yourself out there because it makes you uncomfortable.
Okay, that’s it for this collection of rambling thoughts. I’m not quite done with my cab and I want to pull up Netflix and watch my favorite snobs Frasier and Niles. ‘Until we talk again.