But, unfortunately, they don't necessarily add up to anything that moves the plot forward.
Today, I was in the zone this morning.
My fingers were flying across the keyboard. I was making literary music -- or so I thought. I continued working non-stop for a little over two hours. Then I noticed my coffee cup was empty, so I went upstairs for a refill.
When I returned, I read what I'd written...
It was good. But there was absolutely too much of it.
Let me be more specific. My current project is a new novel, and I'm working on the first draft of it presently. The project is called Heir Apparent. A critical part of the plot involves two murders, which occurred around the same time. The one that occurred first is important to spinning out the story. But I needed the police to be uncertain which murder happened before the other. To accomplish this I arranged for one of the murder victims to be tossed into the Missouri River, wrapped in a plastic tarp and weighted down by rocks.
I wanted the body to be cold, so the time of death would be uncertain. But I also wanted the body to be discovered fairly soon -- well before the killer was hoping it would be found.
So I got this cool idea -- I'd follow the body downstream in the narrative, and explain how it ends up washed up on a sandbar miles from where it was dumped. Well, it sounded cool to me -- it features an old cottonwood tree which died, fell into the river, and which tore open the tarp, spilling out the rocks. Then the body goes floating on its merry way.
Unfortunately, three thousand words on the death of a tree, springtime floods, and the sojurn of a tarp-wrapped corpse, was not what my story needed at that point.
After a bit of editing, it was down to a little over five hundred words, and more appropriate for the suspense stage of the novel.
Normally, I don't edit as I write, but in this case, I simply couldn't let this one go.