What Got Taken Out? – Behind the Scenes of 2108 (Part III)
Warning: Slight Spoiler. If you want to know NOTHING of the first four chapters, skip the two indented paragraphs below. You can come back and read them after you’ve read the book!
The editing process is one of my least favorite parts of writing. At times, it can be tedious and painful. Sometimes I have to scrap entire scenes I thoroughly enjoyed fleshing out, scenes that felt like they had to be a part of the story. One thing I’ve learned, however, is that handing a manuscript to someone for proofreading is best thought of as asking the person to, “Please help me make my book better!”
With 2108: Eyes Open, there was something that came up a couple times from a few different readers. Some of them wanted to get into the action sooner. Whereas I was content to explore Jewel’s world for four chapters before adding some major drama, others wanted the drama earlier. I had wanted to create a sense of Jewel living in a bubble, and just when the reader was lulled into a place of pleasant contentment, “Pop!” goes the bubble. I made a compromise. At the last moment, I took out the fourth chapter, spread the important contents of it throughout the book, and decided to “pop the bubble” in chapter four instead of five.
For those who are curious, chapter four used to be about Jewel discovering she had accidently left her widge in Hope and Loyal’s Aerokopa. Jewel was not too excited about having to meet up with Hope again so quickly to get her widge back. What made it worse was that Hope came over to Jewel’s house to return the widge. This wouldn’t seem like a problem, except that to be polite, Jewel then had to give Hope a tour of their house and especially her room. This was to be the scene where Hope found out Jewel liked making miniatures and invited her to dinner. The chapter didn’t really move the plot along much at all. It just kind of meandered. So I cut it. Two important things I wanted to salvage from that chapter were Jewel and Hope’s discovery of their common interest in miniatures and the description of Jewel’s room. So I had to find other ways to include them. I think it worked out all right . . . and made the story better.
Pictures also came into the editing process. Because I took out the original chapter four, I had an extra picture. That is why chapter four now has two pictures. Why should I be stingy and only give you one of them? If you continue checking on the pictures in each chapter, however, you’ll notice there is no picture in chapter six. What happened? I wasn’t being stingy. I actually wanted to show you what a punga tree fern looks like. They’re so beautiful and quite prolific in New Zealand. I dutifully drew a somewhat decent rendering of one. But apparently I drew it too big or detailed . . . or something to be scaled correctly for the novel. In the first few proof copies I ordered, it looked like the printer had run out of ink. And that seemed tacky. SO it got axed. But I’ve pasted it below in case you’re curious. I’d encourage you to Google punga tree ferns. The real things are absolutely gorgeous . . .