We've all heard it. Kill your darlings. When a line you love is standing in the way of making your book better. The solution is always the same. Kill it. It doesn't matter how much you love that line, if you can lose it and the book doesn't suffer, or would even be better for it, you have to lose it.
Well last week I did this on a scale I never imagined.
Talking with the submissions editor at WiDo, we were looking at how my planned sequel to Locked Within fit with the first book. I had planned for Locked Within to be the first of a 6-book series. However after we discussed the new book and what could be done to improve it, I realised that I was hanging on to this idea of 6 books, and it was holding me back.
I suggested that instead, I could make it a trilogy. Combining elements of my plans for books 2 and 3 into one book, then doing the same for books 5 and 6, spreading ideas from book 4 into each, I could completely transform the story. The unnecessary chaff would be cut. Character development would be more focused and center-stage. The stakes and tension could be higher. I could introduce important characters sooner and avoid sub-plots stagnating. Most importantly, I would now be working on a much more marketable series than something as weighty as a 6-parter.
So I've killed three whole books. The funny thing is how quickly I made the decision. Once I thought of doing it, it felt right, like it was the best choice I could make. I can tell you, a month ago, there's no way I would have thought that cutting out so much potential material would be something I could do, let alone something I felt good about!
So I'm now officially working on the re-write of the second part of my trilogy! Once it's ready I'll query it and we'll see where we go from there.