Through the Nethergate which has recently been released on TSL Publications and Lulu.com and which will be available on Amazon in a few weeks’ time, is my first full length novel. It ended up approximately 72 000 words and would have been longer if I hadn’t taken the advice of my two developmental editors, and removed the death stories of a number of the ghostly characters in the book.
When I first started writing Through the Nethergate, it was going to be an interconnected collection of short ghost stories based on real people and real events, but fictionalised to fill in the detail and gaps. I wrote about the deaths of all the main characters, both good and bad, including:
- Lizzie, a young girl who dies of starvation chained to the wall of a cellar after stealing a half a mug of beer;
- Rex Bacon who murders his wife and her lover after discovering their infidelity and commits suicide;
- A monk who worked at the Glastonbury Abbey and was a victim of murder while performing an important task for the Abbot;
- Katharine, who is forced to become a nun by her family and who runs away with her lover, becoming pregnant and being immured in the wall of the abbey when she is finally caught and returned to the monastery;
- Henry Scarle who is murdered by thieves and whose body is thrown into the river;
- Jack, a young boy who, together with his fellow chimney boys, murders his abusive employer and is hung when he is caught;
- Amelia Dyer who is considered to be the most prolific female serial killer in English history and who was eventually hung for her crimes;
- The children who drowned in the Huskar Colliery on 4 July 1838 after a flash flood above ground; and
- John Collins, one of the leaders of the Chartist movement in Birmingham.
I had feedback from both of my developmental editors and they both said the same thing. We love your ghost stories, but there are too many included. You need to cut some of them. I knew I had to cut some of my darlings and so I removed four of the stories.
I still like these pieces so much that I decided to expand them into stand-alone short stories and that is how the three short stories I wrote for Death Among Us, an anthology of short murder mystery stories by ten authors, came to be written. The fourth piece, about the life of Katharine, I published as a short story on Christopher Graham’s blog, The Story Reading Ape.
I believe that I was given the correct advice about cutting some of these stories out of my novel, after all, it didn’t end up being a collection of short ghost stories, but rather a full length novel with its own main story. I am glad I was able to put the cut out pieces to good use and build them into something worthwhile in their own right.
This post was written for this weeks Open book blog hop.
September 16, 2019
What did you edit out of your most recent book? (or another book…let’s see those outtakes!)
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