Ninie Hammon’s Blog for Readers

The Reckoning special BONUS contains exclusive material

Posted: February 22, 2017, 12:21PM

 

       Stephen King advises writer wannabes to “kill your darlings.”
       No, the bestselling horror writer and acknowledged master of English prose is not telling fledgling authors to commit murder. He’s describing how ruthless a writer must be in the editing process, hacking out anything that it not absolutely essential to tell the story.
        But what if that “anything” is not just a good scene but a great scene, you ask? A masterful scene? An extraordinary work of staggering genius?
        Cut it anyway.
        I murdered a lot of darlings in the editing of The Knowing, The Deceiving and The Reckoning, killed them with the bloody dagger of a thing called “pace.” Trying to explain pace feels like trying to thumbtack a rainbow to a flagpole. You never notice pacing when it’s good, and when it’s bad, the story wears you out but you usually don’t even know why. It’s almost impossible to teach a writer how to pace a story because pace isn’t something you can see or measure. It’s not about word-count. I’ve read 150,000-word novels paced so fast I had to slam the book closed every so often to catch my breath. I’ve read 50,000-word books soooooo slooooow I dozed off at the bottom of every page.
        Let’s say you’re in a car, blindfolded. You can sense when the car slows down or speeds up even if you can’t see the speedometer. Pacing is like that. It’s something you can feel as you read through a story. And when the pace bogs down, when it gets slower and slower instead of faster and faster—as it should in any suspense novel!—there is only one way to speed it up. You have to cut something out. You want a sleek, slender story that sprints across the pages, not a swollen story that waddles from one chapter to the next until it collapses in a boated heap at The End.
        I wrote the first drafts of all three books of The Knowing trilogy one after the other, back to back. Then I returned to the first book to edit and polish it. I published The Knowing: Book One last November and immediately started the editing process on the second book—which had a first draft a little chubbier than I liked at 120,000 words. That’s when something amazing happened. I got an idea for a whole new story line and I knew I had to write it. I had to tell the tale of where the story started, what had happened to the main characters when they were twelve years old. So I did, and the new 1985 storyline added 67,000 words to an already too-fat manuscript, creating a 187,000-word behemoth. Think sumo wrestler, not marathoner.
        I believed every scene in The Deceiving was a good scene. Of course, I did—I wrote them! But when I put them all together, end to end, the pace was way too slow. So I took out my word machete and started hacking. When I was finished, I had cut out 62,000 words. The published version of The Deceiving was 125,000 words.
        Not all of the 62,000 words I cut were complete scenes, of course. I hacked out descriptions, characters, pieces of this chapter and that. But I also hunked out a handful of whole scenes—good, but not essential to the telling of the tale.  I published The Deceiving June 27, 2016, and soon afterward I began the process of editing/polishing the already-written first draft of Book 3 of the trilogy.  And in cleaning out the clutter

THREE SCENES OF PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED MATERIAL

SCENE ONE
Isaac Washington

Isaac's death is mentioned in all three books, but the how and why of it was a scene that was removed from The Reckoning to streamline it.

SCENE TWO 
Jack Shoots an Unarmed Man

This scene was cut from The Deceiving and it includes the other scenes that would have followed that plotline.

SCENE THREE
What Happened to Bishop in Vietnam? 

Removed from The Knowing, this is a singularly chilling scene, maybe the spookiest message in all three books.

 of the previous book so I could work on the new one, I came upon the file marked “Scenes Cut Out.” I opened it to read the “darlings” I had murdered—and there was some good stuff in there! No, I wasn’t wishing I’d left it in. All three of The Knowing books are take-your-breath-away sprinters because I was ruthless in cutting them down to their “running weight.” But I was wishing I had a way to share the material I had removed.
        I was bemoaning that fact to my husband—who is as brilliant as he is good looking!—and he suggested I “do what they did with the Lord of the Rings movies—publish an ‘extended edition.’” I love Lord of The Rings! And I had gobbled up the extended versions of the movies, cherished every precious minute that had been consigned to the cutting room floor.
        You don’t suppose readers might feel the same way about what was cut from The Knowing, The Deceiving and the Reckoning...do you?
        The decision to give away the additional exclusive material as a bonus to those who purchased the Reckoning during the first week it was on sale took me about three seconds to make. After all, these were my “darlings” and I was resurrecting them from their consigned deaths in a dusty file deep in the dark bowels of Scrivener.
        I searched through the cut-scenes folder and selected three scenes that had been hunked out whole. One from The Knowing and one from The Deceiving and one from The Reckoning—a total of 20,000 words of story that no one but me has ever read. That’s the length of the first eight chapters of The Deceiving.
        Three darlings. I killed them. Now, I’ve brought them back to life. I thought no eyes but mine would ever see them and I’m absolutely thrilled to share them with my readers.

Write on!
9e






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"Oh, and about the 9 and the e beside my name. Say it fast, emphasis on the 9. That’s how you pronounce my first name -9e. (Think “rhymes with tiny and shiny, NOT with skinny and penny.”)

Suspense Author
NINIE HAMMON

I have soooo many stories I want to tell you, so many worlds I want you to see, so many people I want you to meet. People in trouble, most of them. Big trouble they didn't ask for but there it is. Ordinary folks like you and me who are forced by circumstances to fight for their lives. And then, smack in the middle of their everyday worlds they encounter the unexplainable. It's always the game-changer.

Welcome to my world. If you'd like to know more about me, I'm easy. Click on Meet Ninie and you'll see. My life isn't really an open book; it's more of a pamphlet, and you are cordially invited to read it. I'd love to interact with you on Twitter, Facebook Fan page, and Goodreads. Or come visit with me at 9e's Kitchen Table, a Facebook group where readers and I hang out. I think you'd like it.