I have removed a third of my manuscript. The act of cutting was clean. I took chapters I have never felt good about and simply did not transfer them to my new draft. I also stopped numbering my drafts because they are getting perilously close to the double digits.
I can keep my last chapter. It is only half-written anyway, but it gives me the feeling that I at least know where I’m going to end up. I’ve deleted a storyline, so there may be even fewer loose ends than there were. But there are gaps, lordy, there are gaps.
Now I have to go back and reshape my chapters. I feel as if I am trapped back in September. I need to look at storyline and write more pointed text. But even if I feel as if I were moving backward (which I don’t, quite), I need to believe that I am moving forward. Every time I solve a writing problem, I become a better writer. Right?
And I take comfort from the words by Leigh Newman about revising her memoir:
“What was left to do was a lot of huge, ugly, much-needed cuts, lots of rewriting, sobbing, and more rewriting.”
(Still Points North is a great book, you should look for it.)
What direction are you moving?