Kissing Goodbye

One of the problem with writing- well, probably with a lot of subjects- is that you have to figure out what to include in your story, when it’s necessary- or when it’s a distraction.

Of course, when it comes to NaNoWriMo, you just lock your inner editor in a dark dungeon and put into your story whatever extra bits you want. Your goal is to reach 50,000 words, after all, and the best way to do that is to totally ignore any mistakes- which would bog you down- and add the parts you know you’ll probably get rid of. Of course, that’s the best way to reach 50,000 words- the fun way is simply to write.

Anyway, as I was saying, at some point you have to edit and figure out if the extra parts are necessary. Sometimes, after all, they are extra but they’re important- at least to you. Sometimes the case may be that you took time to research a subject, or you’ve always wanted to see what your character would do in this situation- or whatever the case may be. The extra stuff is important- but is it necessary, is it a distraction?

Unfortunately I’ve come to a point like this in my second Civil War story I wrote, which I was reading to get back into the mood. It’s a tiny point. I didn’t even research it- I think I just brought up a picture I had of a collection of Civil War-era guns and revolvers, I picked one and put it into my story, just as an opportunity to show what I’d researched. How could it be that bad?

Then I reread it and, when I came to the point where I was saying what kind of revolver a character had, the pace just slowed down. It was a distraction, a smudge. So, I know what I have to do. I hate to do it, I hate to change something I took a little bit of time to look into and, as I thought at the time, make the story feel more authentic.

(In case anyone is interested, the weapon I mentioned is a Remington Revolver Cal .44. I thought that I may as well mention what kind of weapon this character had somewhere, sense I did take some trouble over it. I will now simply say that he had a Remington revolver, which will give it some authenticity, but will not slow down the pace)

This did, however, bring up an annoying point. Simply: I researched the Civil War a lot (not enough, actually). I even checked out things I would only possibly use, such as the 10 (I think) steps it took to reload some weapon or other. I took the trouble to put that process into my first story and, as with the revolver problem, it slows it down so much it’s the equivalent of walking with sand in your shoes!

I guess what I’m basically saying is: It’s hard, but sometimes those things you put time into, that you carefully stuffed into your story, sometimes that really has to go. So, as much as you like it, because of how much trouble it took you, give it a kiss and say goodbye.

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