So there’s this lengthy scene in my current manuscript (which just came back for edits) involving a goldfish.
It is awesome. I say this in all modesty. It is the Hero’s Journey with a goldfish. I had a lot of fun writing it.
One of the edits is that there’s too much going on at the end and a couple of threads that don’t resolve and it occurred to me that if I just hacked out the bit with the goldfish, it would fix some of these concerns and cut a few thousand words.
Common writing wisdom has it that I should ruthlessly slice this out, throw it to the winds, kill my darlings. Sure, it’s painful! That’s how you know it’s working! PAIN IS EDITS LEAVING THE MANUSCRIPT!
I offered to slice out the goldfish.
My agent, my editor, AND my beta reader all came back and said “NOT THE GOLDFISH!” It was like I had the goldfish in front of the firing squad and everybody threw themselves over the bowl yelling “Take me instead!”
I guess the goldfish stays.
So, y’know, the moral is that sometimes, just occasionally, it’s painful because you shouldn’t be messing with it.