Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Shell Keeper: Quote 'Out-Takes'/ Chapter 2

Any writer will tell you that what makes a novel great is as much what's taken out as what's left in. The editing process can be brutal. Tears may be shed. But if we're honest with ourselves we have to admit that the final product is usually much more what we wanted in the first place. In other words, that old maxim was right: Less is More.

For me, the More that needed to be yanked during the editing process of my women's fiction novel, The Shell Keeper, were quotes at the start of each chapter. The spirit of my book sprung, years ago, from the wisdom of Ann Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea. This small tome is packed with gems that speak to women of all ages and, when writing The Shell Keeper, I found a treasure to mark each chapter. My scenes, my characters, my plot all found roots within Lindbergh's insights.

However, that arduous taskmaster that is the final editing process made it clear that the quotes, while inspiring  were detracting from the story and adding pages (very big no-no's) in publishing. They had to go. I grieved...sniff...but I cut! And in the end only two remained, one as the theme of the book, and the other, just as you begin chapter one. But there are so many others you missed out on.

So I'd like to start a series in my blog to tell you a little about the quotes from Ms. Lindbergh that didn't make it in and why, in a perfect world, they were just right for the chapters they headed.

Chapter 2: "How often in a large city, shaking hands with my friends, I have felt the wilderness stretching between us."

In chapter two Dell has just interrupted Gwen and Claire's conversation by rudely demolishing the massive flower pot in front of Gwen's bakery while distractedly driving her mini-van.

We are about to bring our three new friends together-under duress-and the moment will show glimpses not only of their true characters, but their individual wilderness experiences colliding and blending. There is caution, havoc, relief, wariness and hope and even budding friendship-all in one scene. Think of this chapter as a train wreck-with humor!

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