It isn’t as if I’m not aware that even my latest rewrite of my novel, “Swamis,” has way too many side stories attacking and (to stress the metaphor) dropping in on the plotline, too many peripherals and tangents; it’s just that I love the little side stories that make fiction seem like something that just could, perhaps, happen.
Here’s how a novel is supposed to be: Minimal characters, as if the selected group move in a world that is less crowded and far less complicated than any we can actually find. Anything that doesn’t move the plot has to go. We all have attention deficit disorder, including me.
Still, as someone who has already jettisoned and backspaced-out tens of thousands of words, eliminated multiple supporting characters and side stories; I can’t help but believe it’s better to have too much and cut some than pad a weak story already too familiar.
Or maybe readers want familiar. I know there is a formula; you don’t know how disappointed I will be if I have to strictly follow it.
Because I do get off topic, here’s this: I watched a little YouTube, billed as ‘great waves at Trestles.’ It was clearly, with uncrowded conditions and each surfer in a colored jersey, some sort of contest. I am very familiar with the spot. I won’t go into how I became familiar or when, but surfers were concentrating on the off-the-tops and cutbacks, with most performers/contestants pulling a last air with fifty feet of rideable wave going unridden. Perhaps one or two high-lined that last section, sliding just under the lip, gliding, freefall floating into a pullout.
Yeah. “Swamis” needs some more cutting. Working on it. Doing what, in my painting life, I refer to as ‘tightening it up.” Still, I can’t help but hold on to the overcrowded versions. If I don’t hold my words as precious, I do admit to being a bit… retentive.