Editing: Slowing down long enough to write

As I’ve been editing, I’ve learned that when I write first drafts, I tend to sneak in little place holders for scenes that need to be further developed. But I don’t know I’m doing it. If I don’t pay attention, I’ll edit them right out as irrelevant. In my first go through, this scene got cut:

Way to go kiddo.”

Her smile broadened, and she resisted the urge to fist pump or something, but then Zig held up his hand and declared “High five!” She laughed and did so. She couldn’t leave him hanging.

Of course, that threw her off balance a bit and she stumbled, but he braced her, pulling her close to his chest and pushing his hand into the wall to steady himself.

It seemed entirely too random, and irrelevant, and broke the flow of the scene, so I cut it. Fortunately, I have track changes on as I’m editing (not to mention I’ve got the original saved and locked), so when I came back around to this, it suddenly became clear to me why Rain needs to fall against Zig in the hallway. The tension in this scene is the build up for the next, where she bursts into tears. It didn’t really make sense at first, other than the nostalgia of being back in her “own room”. But with the tension between her and Zig leaving her flustered and confused, the room becomes the last straw. But first, let’s have a look at said tension, shall we?

She didn’t want to open her eyes just yet, but she stepped forward anyways. She took one step, and another, feeling Zig catch on and move her forward.

That’s it, there ya go. One more step, okay, now step down.”

Brooke hesitated, foot hanging in the air. Her breath caught, and for a moment she forgot about the rain and all she could feel was falling, falling, diving to the earth-

She took a deep breath, pulling her rain back around herself, and let her foot fall forward.

Rain smiled when she felt the solid step beneath her. She opened her eyes and saw Zig, standing a few steps below her, one hand held out to catch her, the other holding her hand tight. His blue eyes were filled with concern, then warmth when she smiled at him.

Way to go, kiddo.”

Her smile broadened, and she resisted the urge to fist pump or something, but then Zig held up his hand and declared “High five!” She laughed, but couldn’t leave him hanging. She brought her hand up to smack his, but he was on a lower stair , so the motion carried her much further forward than she thought it would. Dizzinesss took her, and she tried to step forward to correct her balance, but slammed into Zig’s body, face inches from his. She braced on his shoulders as they slammed into the wall, heart pounding in her chest. Against his chest. And her legs were tangled with his, his thigh between her thighs, and her thigh- Oh God. Her thigh was touching his- Oh God. She flung herself backwards, hitting the opposite wall, hunching in on herself. She closed her eyes against another wave of dizziness, and against the thought of his- Oh God!

Zig reach out and took her elbow, steadying her. “Easy there, kiddo.”

Her eyes flew open, but they were no longer inches away from Zig’s icy blue ones. He looked concerned, but not freaked, and his easy tone and manner reminded her that she was safe. This was Zig. Sure, he was hot enough, but he was a goofball – everyone’s big brother. She took a deep breath and pushed away the thought of his firm shoulders under her hands. Down, she needed to lie down. She needed to get downstairs and lie down, right now. Alone.

“Let’s get you downstairs before you fall down.

Her eyes widened as he mirrored her thoughts. Oh god- Tripp could read minds, could Zig? Did he know she’d been thinking about his- Oh God! Alone, downstairs, NOW.

—-

I’m not gonna lie- I had great fun writing this scene. I almost couldn’t write it, because I kept laughing and declaring “Oh god!”

But it was a very tricky scene to write. The physics of it was hard for me to wrap my head around, so I enlisted the help of my living in editor to go above and beyond the call of duty. Let me just say, Caitlin must trust me very much to throw herself down the stairs at me.

But I’m really glad she did. If she hadn’t, I would never have thought about just how close Rain and Zig were, and how certain parts touched other certain parts, and how an awkward sixteen-year-old would feel about that. Cait is much better at these sorts of things than I am, and I’m extremely grateful she helped me figure out what was going on in this supposedly throw away scene.

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4 thoughts on “Editing: Slowing down long enough to write

  1. You truly can’t understate the value of “acting out” scenes prior to writing them. If only more people in the world were open to requests like, “Hey, could you stand beside me, pretend to be poisoned, and let me try different ways of catching you?”

    Like

  2. Pingback: Weekly Writing Goals: May, week 3 | Raevenly Writes

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