Revising chapters five and six of The Race that Lies Before Us has been the toughest so far. I have not only revised them, but also rearranged and consolidated scenes. Some of my scenes are set in time and can’t be moved, but many could happen within a certain time frame. I racked my brains trying to figure out what should go where and finally had to pull out my timeline and rework it.
After I gave these chapters a hard look, I realized that two scenes did little to move the story forward and deleted them. The most important information from these scenes I added into a third scene. This gave more meaning to the scene I kept, and gave me more bang for my words, so to speak.
The hardest part so far came when I had to decide whether to keep or drop a favorite scene. Once again, the distance provided by the two months I took off from writing helped me to make the hard decision. Because of the revisions to chapters two and three, I no longer needed the scene to introduce one of the main characters. Since many of the characters thoughts had already been brought up in a prior scene, and will be discussed in another scene several chapters later, I finally bowed to the inevitable. The scene had to go. It was hard, but my consolation prize was dropping one thousand words from my wordcount.
I have moved on to chapter seven and will probably drop another large chunk of a scene. I’ve made so many revisions throughout the writing process that the original purpose of the scene is now moot. Once again, I expect that I will be able to pick out the most important information, consolidate it, and add it to another scene. And once again, I expect my wordcount to fall considerably. It’s so hard to cut these words I agonized over when I wrote the scene, but I can tell that it’s well worth it.