Cutting Room Floor: Part 2

Scraps of papers on tiled floorFor some reason, I guess I like telling stories that shift, either in perspective, in plot, or in time. My debut novel did all three at the same time, weaving them together in an interesting tapestry, and this new novel does similar things, at least to plot and perspective. I wrote the initial draft of the novel in the span of three weeks. In fact, it’s the fastest I’ve ever finished the first draft of anything larger than a short story. Of course the speediness of the manuscript lent itself also to a plethora of re-writes just for plot discrepancies that always creep in but tend to do even more so when a piece is written so quickly. I was surprised, however, upon my first and second edits, to find not too many plot holes and issues.

Now, as I work on the final edit, I’m reminded of why this story was so interesting to me in the first place. I’ve always been fascinated by books, shows, and movies about bank robberies. At the time I started to write the first manuscript there was a book published called The Heist, by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, and it reminded me of my dormant obsession with the genre. While that book was a massive disappointment, I nonetheless credit it with rekindling the fire inside of me. Right away I started writing and I didn’t stop until it was finished.

It’s slated for release on February 18th, and to say I’m excited is putting it mildly. I am so pumped because it’s exactly the type of book I would read if given the chance, and I hope those who enjoyed my first novel will enjoy this one too, even though they are drastically different. Welcome to my Cutting Room Floor.

THE STORY

It’s a mystery novel that tracks events leading up to and directly following a bank robbery, but it’s a lot more than just that. It’s also a study of contrasts between expectations and reality. What I love most about the story is that it is written in fragments and from different perspectives. Because it switches around so much it reveals in pieces the motivations and connections between the robbers, the ones who are seeking them, and other happenings in the city where the robbery takes place. The story delves into politics and crime, and shows how they’re not mutually exclusive.

THE CHARACTERS

In this novel I have created an ensemble cast, which is the first time I have truly done something like that in a longer piece of writing. Because of this I wrote the novel in the third person point of view and switched between characters quite often, making for a lot of chapters, but of the shorter variety. Unlike Detours, however, this story does not shift and move around in time. It is mostly chronological, so you meet the characters during the course of the action and you journey with them through until the conclusion.

THE EDITING

With an ensemble cast that is so huge, I had to work hard on keeping it all straight, so I created a separate document listing each character as they appear in the novel, along with a brief synopsis for each. Laid out that way, it’s impressive to see the intricate web of characters, how they relate to each other, and the surprising connections that I hadn’t even realized on the initial draft. Next, I broke down each chapter looking for inconsistencies, and I definitely found a few that revolved around subplots. It has made my editing process that much easier, even though creating the separate document wasn’t easy in itself.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

* I spent more than a little time walking through dialogue with friends

* I have now cycled through at least eight alternate titles

* Music really helps my editing process… In fact, on the next edition of Cutting Room Floor I will share with you a partial soundtrack that has kept me going.

Sam

Cutting Room Floor: Part 1

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