Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Friday Fessing on Saturday


This is the problem with being a pantser rather than a planner: I’m 70,000 words into my novel and I’ve just realised that I may have to cancel one of my three main characters. Egad! I’ve got tons of material on her, details and background and about 25,000 V-specific words, but it’s just dawned on me that this story is a duet and not a trio.

I’ve had intuitive hints for a while – a sense that there was an imbalance, a feeling of unreality when writing about V but a sense of being in the sweet spot when writing about L and S. Logistically, it is not a problem to excise her, since the structure thus far is three separate strands and I can just unwind her and her lay gently to the side. I also know that the material is not wasted: there’s a place for her in Novel #2.

Right now, though, it’s about L and S, and although this is a body-blow in terms of lost time, I’m suddenly enlightened. There’s a clarity in the story of L and S to which V only added fog.

On a practical note, Germany’s Top Husband and I have come to a time-sharing agreement which will allow me a couple of mornings off a week to write. This means as soon as I wake, I’ll head directly to my garret, and he will do the morning routine and school run. This will open a huge chunk of time to write, so that I can forge ahead and finish this first draft. In return, he’s going to be putting in a couple of extra evenings in the office while I do the night-time routine. Occasionally, we may even see each other.

In the meantime I’m retiring V, with the proviso that if I receive a blast of intuition that the narrative needs her again, I can re-insert her.

V, you’re on ice, baby. Me, on the other hand, I’m hot to trot.


Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

17 thoughts on “Friday Fessing on Saturday

  1. How wonderful to have a breakthrough like that. Sometimes it’s hard to see clearly when something is so near and dear. Kudos for your ability to accept the inevitable gracefully. Good luck. I bet everything will flow like water for you now.

  2. I’m thrilled to see you crankin’ on this thing. Glad that you and Husband #1 can rock a cool schedule to help you thrive. Stay groovy! jp

  3. OK that’s really cool. Character gone, just like that. Poof. Sounds like an authentic break through, congratulations.

  4. I’m glad to hear that your novel is going so well. I can’t wait to buy it and read it! 🙂

  5. It sounds like a wonderful revelation, even if it means lots of unnecessary material. But you discovered something important about your book! That’s great news.

  6. I love hearing about your process. I’m glad the story is revealing itself to you and you feel clearer in the direction. Can’t wait to hear more!

  7. Great practical solution there – Not having to do the school run frees up so much time. When I had a big job on my husband started taking that over for a while and it made a huge difference to concentration levels just not even having to keep the head space open for it.

    I’m glad that it is all coming together and that V has a place in your next novel ready and waiting!

  8. The changes are tough, but they can only be to the good. Tighter, intenser, sharper, all those advantages will streamline your novel and supercharge it. Hurray for writing mornings! That sounds like exactly what you need.

  9. Definitely sounds like a great breakthrough both in the novel and in your schedule. I hope it works out beautifully on both accounts. Can’t wait to read the novel!

  10. Although it can be tough, I love this kind of sudden understanding about a work-in-progress. Chances are you will speed up now that you’ve got just the two characters to concentrate on, so even losing the pages won’t be such a problem.
    And that’s wonderful about the new writing schedule, I’m sure you will get so much done with those extra hours.

  11. That’s great news re the novel’s progress. Congrats and Way to Go. Interested to hear more about L, S and V. Maybe V will carry on developing away in the back of your mind and spring, almost fully formed, into novel # 2. Impressed with those pantser moves.

  12. It sounds like your “pantser” method is really helping you get deep into the story — it all sounds good! Especially that extra time you’re carving out to write. Wonderful, wonderful husband you’ve got there…

  13. Having that realization 70,000 words into it isn’t bad. With more than one novel I have had to start from scratch with nothing more than the premise, and more than once.

  14. Oooh, the power! “you’re not needed. Out you go!” Well done for having the strength to do this rather than cling to the stuff you’ve already written. You go girl!

  15. Well done chica. I likes to knows you knows whats you are doing. Never doubted it anyway.

  16. I once heard someone say something very wise about all the words that we have to let go, but I can’t remember exactly what it was. So, that makes this comment not useful at all…I really just wanted to say this was a great post to read. I’ve just come to the same school drop-off arrangement (though am now taking the opportunity to blog instead of write!)

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