I’ve reached the 64,ooo word stage of the current story I’m working on, a psychological thriller set in the English countryside. A couple of months ago, a literary agent said the sections written from the male character viewpoint didn’t really work and that the rewrite had caused the story to become muddled and lose its way. Since the agent liked the female character viewpoint and the family setup in the back story, I have kept these sections.
Basically, I’ve done something that creative writing tutors call “murdering your darlings” – thats getting rid of sections you particularly cherish, especially those sections written early on in the story. No one, of course, should cut passages of writing simply for revision purposes. However, stories develop in time and sometimes the new ideas clash with the old. See more on this.
When I first started writing psychological suspense, I tried too hard to create an atmosphere of fear. Rather than getting inside the character’s head and working on the logic of the plot, I went a bit over the top in attempt to portray mad characters. I’ve blogged about some of my earlier mistakes elsewhere.
What I’ve now done is remove all traces of madness from the male character’s viewpoint and worked solely on plot logic. Admittedly, it’s not as much fun as before, but the work is something that needs to be done.