Once upon a sub-plot
Sometimes, it just doesn’t pay to be a writer. It’s like trying to shovel a hole in the ocean. Shovel as fast as you might and the result will be the same; you get nowhere.
I’ve been working on a particular chapter in the sequel to Urban Mermaid and found myself at a good starting point for a (very) minor sub-plot. Not content to simply lay the foundation for said sub-plot, I decided to cobble most – if not all – of the scenes while it was fresh in my mind.
Believe me, there’s nothing like going off on a tangent every once in a while.
I spent several days writing those scenes for the sub-plot and once finished, I was quite pleased with the results. The only thing remaining was to write a couple of brief follow-up scenes to bring a sort of final closure to the series of events.
There is a lot going on in this sequel. In Urban Mermaid, the story is pretty linear. Any branches in the story line were soon resolved and reunited with the main plot. This was intentional as I just wanted to write a simple take on the perineal boy-meets-mermaid story.
In this sequel, I’m trying to decide just how many sub-plots are too many sub plots. I’ve already ditched one major sub-plot and those of you who are fans of Carl, ‘the pizza guy’ are just going to have to wait a bit longer to learn if he does finally choose a mate. There’s also a second sub-plot in danger of being reduced if not entirely eliminated.
Given my goal of keeping the page count below that of the Manhattan white pages, I cobbled a very tightly written scene with a minimum of folderol. I’d discovered I could combine this scene with another event and that pleased me no end. It’s always great to be able to kill two birds with one stone.
I wrapped the scene around 8:30 yesterday evening and was quite happy with the way things had turned out. Last night, during the gap between wakefulness and sleep, I reviewed all the scenes in the sub-plot and began to decide where I would place them. The cold light of morning brought an inescapable truth; the tightly written scene in question is not really necessary to the successful prosecution of the sub-plot. Indeed, it is likely to wind up on the cutting room floor if my editor has anything to say about it.
And so it goes.
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