The Butterfly Effect

You know how they say that if a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world the effect is felt in a completely separate part of the world?  Of course you do, because the butterfly effect has been mentioned in many books and movies in the past ten years, especially anything to do with time travel.

Well, I was recently reminded of the butterfly effect while revising the Sophie manuscript the other day.  A seemingly small change in chapter 6, for instance, can have repercussions throughout the manuscript, or just in chapter 33.  Even removing one tiny word can change everything.  Or nothing.

This is when I decided that writing is kind of like juggling.  So many characters, scenes, conversations, plot lines are in the air at any one time and have to be handled with care, creativity and just plain organization.  So removing one element changes the balance.  We wouldn’t want any of those characters to fall on the floor.

For example, I decided last week to remove a character from the story line.  So not only do I have to delete any mention of poor Gabriel , but any scene that involved him must be completely rewritten.  And the absence of Gabriel changes the plot and the structure of the book.

Confused yet?

Exactly.  That’s how I have felt so many times while revising this manuscript.  There have just been too many balls in the air.  And I can’t let poor Gabriel fall on the floor.  Even if he is no longer a part of Sophie’s story.

I will miss him.  I loved his intensity and his potential for romantic drama.  I would absolutely have dated him in my teens and/or early twenties.

Deleting Gabriel was just the beginning of a breakthrough.  So now the revision is on the right track (sorry for the mixed metaphors) and I can get on with the actual cutting, rewriting and refining that make a draft into a potentially saleable manuscript.

Aren’t butterflies beautiful?



Filed under writing

3 responses to “The Butterfly Effect

  1. Yeah, I’m so right there now. Any change DOES have lasting and far-reaching repercussions. Oy. Makes revising exciting, tedious, nerve-wracking, frustrating, and all-engrossing all at once, don’t it?

  2. Gail

    Yes, butterflies are beautiful. And I agree w/ the butterfly effect in MS revising.

    For the past few days I’ve had a dilema. Do I revise my MS based on what one agent said to do or do I keep it the way it is and send it to another agent who may have another opinion?

    Well, your post just helped me decide. If the revision helps to make the MS “a potentially saleable manuscript” then I should at least give it a try. Thank you.

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