Dignity of Movement

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“If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.”–Ernest Hemingway

I often look to the wisdom of Ernest Hemingway when I become frustrated during the process of writing this book. And today I am frustrated! I am in “cutting” mode as I work with my editor to streamline the story to improve the novel’s pacing. And it is incredibly difficult.

How do I make decisions about what stays and what goes?   Well apparently the answer is easy: “Does it advance the arc of the character in a meaningful way?” That’s what I am supposed to ask myself when I read a sentence or paragraph or scene. And my answer is “Well…maybe not but it’s important to the reader to understand that period of time in history!” And of course, the answer I get back is “Not really!”

This weekend I cut over 6,000 words from the manuscript. SIX THOUSAND! And my edits are only on the first third of the book. As I shed the historical distractions, I keep Hemingway’s words in the forefront of my mind. Although I find it frustrating (I love all that history!) I know in my heart that the story will be better for it.