An Open Letter to the Characters I Cut from my Novel

(photo from missional.ca)

Dear Eric and Alice,

It’s not you. It’s me.

Actually, no. That’s a lie. It is you. You’re not working in my story. Then again, that also means it is me because I’m the author of the story. You two sprung, not fully formed, from my imagination. So really I have no one to blame but myself. (What else is new?)

When I first conceived the idea for this story, I wanted three rotating narrators because I’m overly-ambitious. I love making grand plans! I thought it would be a truly unique take. Then I started to write scenes from Eric’s POV with his wife Alice and it was just not working. The scenes were deflated. There was no energy, no drama, no humor and liveliness. Everything I wanted to say I said with the other two narrators and I struggled to find purpose for you two.

Basically, you’re just not meant for this story.

I saw an article about Breaking Bad creator and show runner Vince Gilligan on Twitter the other day. I consider that show to be one of the best ever, and it’s a true feat of storytelling. Naturally, I clicked on it and read it quickly. Gilligan had this to say about story telling:

“Keep the characters and the plot simple.”

Such concise, yet life-changing writing advice! I was simply trying to do too much, to make the situation too complicated, and I got tangled in a messy web of plot and other nonsense that I forgot the basics of the story.

So why make things harder for all three of us?

This is my final goodbye. I will miss both of you since you both had real potential, but I will not miss the headache and mess that came along with fighting to keep you two in the story. I wanted to hold on to that original idea for as long as possible. What can I say, sometimes I am hopeful and foolish. It’s just the way I am.

You may appear elsewhere in this story. You may appear in another. You may spend the rest of eternity in the digital clutter that is my external hard drive. No matter where you end up, just remember it’s better this way.

Peace and blessings,

Emily

(gif via thecrashcourse.tumblr.com)

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