Should I trim the "fat?"

  1. Yes

  2. No

    0 vote(s)
  1. N. C. Micol

    N. C. Micol New Member

    Jul 7, 2013
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    Byron, Michigan

    Psychic/Spiritual ?Literary? Novel Plot Question/Poll

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by N. C. Micol, Jul 7, 2013.

    I have a real cool idea for a book involving a psychic basically taking in someone who used to be normal, that started to show "talent." I don't want to say much, but; in the story--after an enticing but brief prologue--I have chapter one start off with a bang. The Lead is in the midst of a near death experience. I've had one, and so I can describe it quite well--you know--make it a good story of it and all. Its a first person story, by the way.

    Anyways, after this near death experience, he suddenly finds that he's having some odd thoughts Odd to him anyways--being an Atheist.

    Here's where I'm split, and need some advice. I know where the story ultimately leads, but how it gets there is two different ways, and I must pick one.

    In one way: he starts getting even crazier thoughts, and starts seeing crazy stuff, and is eventually thrown into a stress unit. I would write it in a way that it would be a shock that the stuff he describes isn't real, and that the thoughts are sane, i.e., true to the story. Eventually he would get out of the stress unit, but eventually the strange things, and strange thoughts, would persist. The Lead can only tie this to what he experienced in his near death experience.

    Eventually the Lead mentions his thoughts and what would appear to be new found abilities to a friend of his, and co-worker. The co-worker immediately surprises the Lead; who expects rejection in some form or another. The co-worker says hes seen crazier stuff from a friend of a friend whom hes seen once at a get-together.

    The Lead is introduced to this person aforementioned, and she decides to take him under her wing.

    Now here is where and why I'm hesitant to do this version, as good of writing as it may or may not end up being; This would be at least 10 chapters of the book. A good 1/5 of the book spent on what would essentially be something kind of unimportant to what would end up being the main conflict in the book, what would probably end up showing up by the time I hit 1/4 through the book.

    What I was thinking of doing instead--though I'm unsure, because; I'd be throwing away really good, emotionally charged material I think fits into the general feel of the book... what I was thinking of doing instead, was just having a shortened version of all that, where the Lead simply gets powers from the near death experience, but doesn't experience the going semi-crazy/having "realizations." This would trim the fat, so to speak... but I'm not so sure that is the right saying... is what I'm trimming really fat? Could I just be writing more in the genre I usually stick with/what this book sort-of is... literary? Please help me!
  2. maskedhero

    maskedhero Active Member

    May 4, 2013
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    There's usually some fat to trim, but if you feel the characters, and the story, gain from this experience, then write it. If you feel a summary of the events is in order, you can do that. Do what is best for not only the character, but for the story.

    A better way to frame it: If you told this tale and didn't include those moments, does the story end up worse for it? Do the characters seem flatter?
  3. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributor Contributor

    May 30, 2012
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    Just write it. If it doesn't work you can edit it out later. Don't stop yourself from writing something because you think that later on it might not work. Even if you decide later on that it doesn't work in your current story, you can always use it in a different story.
  4. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    The only advice I can offer is to make your own choice based on what you, personally, can do the most with. It's your story.
  5. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributor Contributor

    Jul 27, 2011
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    As Cog said, it's your story. You're the one who has to decide what works best. We can vote in your poll and you can follow the majority and it still ends up crap. What do you think makes for a stronger overall story? That's the way to write it.

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