Sorry – you didn’t make the cut.

weasley twins 2

The best kind of twins.

My most recent bout of  Writer’s Block lasted more than three months. It’s nothing compared to my five-year Block, but it was still frustrating. I felt stuck and didn’t know how to move forwards or backwards from a specific point in Penny for Your Dreams. For the first time since forever, I was actually editing  and rewriting before completing my first draft. I rewrote one particular scene five or six times in hopes of striking an appropriate chord with my novel. Ultimately the solution turned out to be rather simple.

I was incorporating what I’d hopped would be Weasley twins incarnates into my novel. I liked them. I wanted to give them a lot of spotlight. I really wanted other people to like them. However, I ended up realising I could never produce characters that measure up to the Weasley twins.  Not only that, I can’t even write twins without making them sound cliché or cheesy. So I did the next best thing and got rid of them. Well… more or less.

I couldn’t handle the pressure they were putting me under. Every time I sat to write they would sorta poke persistently at me to remind me of their share in the spotlight, and I tried my best to accommodate them. I reworked their punchlines so many times to make sure  they weren’t lame. I tried to make them mischievous and endearing at the same time. I wanted them to be interested in Penny without sort of giving the girl a male harem. But I failed miserably. They had some needs too. They wanted to blackmail Penny in exchange for keeping their silence about something she did, but I could not for the life of me think of what they wanted, and they didn’t care enough to help. =/

(Photo Credit: P.O.T.S AND PLANS)

(Photo Credit: P.O.T.S AND PLANS)

It saddened me to do it, but I realised that they were not doing anything to the story. They were just cute twins set in the novel to make my MC miserable. So I ended up shoving them to the background. Currently they’re just two twins operating the Naughty Office, with a rare line here and there. Once I removed them and edited out their parts, it felt like a huge elephant was lifted off my chest and I was able to write again.

Since their departure, I’ve written more than 3000 words when I’d been struggling with  300 for the last few months. I’m able to make steady progress and the things I’ve been worried about seem to melt away. It’s a shame that I didn’t come to this conclusion earlier, because I am really loving this novel and I’m excited to finish it and publish it for everyone else to read. I don’t know how quickly I’ll be able to finish it since I’m swamped under work and paperwork right now, but at least I’m making progress and that makes me happy! 🙂

Got any huge elephant sitting on your chest too? Did you ever try to lure it away by letting go of one of your characters?

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21 thoughts on “Sorry – you didn’t make the cut.

  1. I made a nearly complete overhaul between Draft 2 and 3 of my Great Novel, going from 180,00ish words to a goal of 80-100,000 words. Despite the need to excise many subplots and characters, the dog survived. I was quite a ways into Draft 3, when I realized the loyal dog companion was dead weight, and I’d often forgot he was there. While I didn’t have an elephant lifted off my chest, I did have a dog.

    • Oh my. Cutting down from 180k to 100k sounds like a huge feat! I don’t think I could do it if I tried. In fact, I had trouble cutting 10k from my novel, haha. And awww, sad that the dog had to go. But I do understand what you mean by dead weight. The image of getting a dog off your chest works too! 😉

  2. Some characters are so much fun to create that we want to hold onto them even when they’re not integral to the story. But go they must. I had to do that in my first novel, but I haven’t encountered it with my current WIP. Good for you for finding the source of your blockage and being able to push through once again (wow, that sounded an awful lot like talking about constipation…)

    • Yes, that’s exactly the problem! They reminded me so much of the Weasley twins and I could not bear to part with them.
      Haha, yes, that did sound like you were talking about constipation, but I got your drift. Thanks, Carrie! =D

  3. Sometimes the solution is at hand , but it ‘s too near to be distinguished ……..until we move a little farther and , in perpective ,we see the obstacle we have to remove…….
    Ciao ,Zen!

  4. I haven’t yet had to cut entire characters for the story to work. Major plot points? Oh, yeah. You don’t think you can do without them, but as soon as their gone, creativity flows.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever had to get rid of plot points. I imagine I would have a more difficult time accepting the fact that they need to go!

    • Haha, that’s what happened with me! On the character sheet the twins sounded great, but when they were put into action… it was a complete mess!

  5. I’m just (fingers crossed) coming out of a month-long block. I had to walk away from my characters because I couldn’t write them how I wanted to. I couldn’t even write them how they wanted to.
    But, I’ve jigged around with the structure, starting from a completely different point in time and a completely different POV. I’ve shifted location and cut out a lot of backstory. At least, I’ve done all this in my head. On paper, I have about 1500 words. This is from a first draft of 52,000 words, plus a 20,000 word attempted rewrite. And I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get the words flowing today. They started flowing yesterday but then my eldest child had to be picked up from school, sick. But even that extra night has given me the chance to realise how I make my first character more reader-friendly, so it’s all good.
    Enjoy the freedom of your new writing!

    • Congrats on getting rid of your block, and here’s hoping it doesn’t ail you again!
      Changes in POV can do wonders. In one novel of mine I alternated between POVs just to keep things fresh. It’s good that you found something that works for you! Oh, and I hope your kid is feeling better now. D=

  6. I haven’t gotten rid of a character, but I had to change a characters age for one of my stories to make more sense. When I did that, it flowed beautifully! 😀

  7. 최다해 gongjumonica says:

    It never fails to amaze me how I know someone who is a published writer. It is really a wow. I wish i could have that passion and dedication to write. I don’t have a novel, but I think I feel the same way when i want to include a part in my blog post, but later I’ll find myself not so knowledgeable about it that I’ll delete it after wasting time thinking how to pad it out.

    • Hey, you never know, you might get an idea some day and you’ll love it so much that you’ll feel compelled to write it. =D And I know what you mean about blogs! I can’t tell you the number of posts I’ve sent to the trash just because I wasn’t too sure about them.

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