Fiction: Another One From the Cutting Floor

**This is another scene from the novel I had to cut. It was going to be the opening scene, and it was so much fun to write. But, I ultimately had to cut it, because it was setting up for the story in flashback, and that technique is ridiculously played. So, I ultimately had to come up with something else. But I wish I could have used it. *


Chapter One


“Well, I think it all depends on what the story is really about,” he said leaning back into his chair.

His office overlooked the Cumberland River in Nashville. She crossed the room and stood at the window. She loved the view from up here. The serenity of water and the way light bounced off it always fascinated her. If she could have stayed awake through the entry-level courses, she would have studied science just for the poetry of it all. She wore a knee length purple silk dress, smartly cinched at the waist. Her dark blonde hair was tightly coiffed and she wore pearl earrings, a diamond bracelet and a string of white pearls. A woman of privilege.

“I mean, you’ve got several things going on here,” he continued, flipping through the manuscript on his desk. “Is it a coming of age story? Is it a conversion story? Is it a commentary on the Christian subculture? Is it about art and music?”

“No,” she replied definitively without taking her eyes off the water. “It’s about love. Beautiful exquisite, intoxicating love. Love that overcomes all obstacles.”

He loosened his tie. “I think you’ve seen Moulin Rogue too many times.”

She smiled. Indeed she had.

“Next you’ll be trying to figure out how to incorporate Nirvana lyrics. Which—they’re copyrighted by the way so don’t even think about it. We’re going to have a hard enough time with the Amy Grant lyric in chapter three. But, it works so we’ll deal with it.”

“I’m not saying it’s not a good story,” he reassured her. “It’s a great story. It just comes off as exactly what it is—an artsy-fartsy experimental graduate piece. People don’t want to read that. Not unless you’ve got vampires in it.”

She finally turned to him. “So what do I do?”

“Rework it. If it’s about love, then make it about love. Make me fall in love. Most importantly, make your reader fall in love. With your characters, with your book, and with you. That’s how you’re going to sell it.”

She nodded.

He continued. “On Friday I’m leaving for South Africa. I’ll be gone for three weeks. I’m helping with a book tour for a teen series about Christian vampires who start a vampire evangelism movement.” He rolled his eyes. “Sometimes I hate my job. Anyway. We’ll meet when I get back.”

It was a long and ambling drive back home. She hated editors. She always had. It had been said that William Faulkner would hand in his manuscripts to an editor and comment, “Now all my little darlings must die.” She felt that way. But unfortunately, editors were usually right.

Her office was a spacious room, originally intended to be a bedroom. They desk was a long mahogany table overlooking a bay window. It was currently covered in notes, stickies, pens, pencils, and the well-laid plans of men. Her open MacBook stood in the center as the brightly lit centerpiece.

It stared her down, the dark screen taunting her to write. She made some coffee. She went back the office. Yes, the computer was still there. She took a deep breath and began to type.

This is a story about love, and how my life got turned upside down.

Geez. Sounds like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She deleted it. She thought some more.

You can be anywhere when your life starts.

She smiled. Oh, but, wait, wasn’t that from a movie? She deleted it and started again.

I always wanted to write this grand philosophical treatise on art, philosophy and religion. I would throw around names like Kierkegaard and Heidegger just for special effect. But that was before any of this happened. And I’m glad it did, because honestly no one would have read it. It all started with Ethan.

Ugh. Too pretentious. Keep it simple. Just tell the story.  Her cursor blinked at her. She moved out to the patio, and listened to the sounds of the birds and the waves. Then she had it.




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