From the Kill Your Darlings Drawer
As we edit, we throw out. Because the scene doesn't fit or makes the story drag on or it breaks the flow of the narrative. Sometimes the length of a scene lends undeserved weight to its importance in the story. We argue with our editors and with ourselves, sobbing that this THIS is the best writing in the entire manuscript. All the while, deep down inside, we know we must kill our darlings. But thanks to the near-endless real estate of the web page, I can include those deleted words as bonus material. I also think it's fun for readers, especially emerging authors, to see what kind of content gets winnowed out.
In the novel, there is a pamphlet written by Professor Kang about the (fictional) history of The Library and how it ended up at Minghua University. After much soul searching, the pamphlet had to go. I'm glad to share this with you because although it's totally fiction, the history of the Library of Legends shows how fragile books are and how fortunate we are that any books managed to survive natural and manmade disasters. Read more.
When Lian and Sparrow follow the old nun into the cave, I wanted to include three stories about the Willow Star and the Prince in that scene. But the purpose of that scene was to bring the tale out of the book and in to the real world, and one story was enough. And it had to be shortened. For those who wanted to know more about the backstory I imagined for this imaginary folk tale, here is the original scene. Those who read the family stories on my blog will recognize the story of the ghost lanterns as the one I chose to keep. Read more.