I got it in my head yesterday to see what the book would look like if I put everything I ever wrote back into it. A Director's Cut, if you will, an everything but the kitchen sink version. Actually, the kitchen sink too.
I thought it might double the size of my 100,000 word book.
It ended up only adding 22,000 words, or about 20%. Surprised the hell out of me, because it seems like I've spent the last year trying to winnow it down.
I was able to get an overall sense of the architecture of the story. It's a bit loose and messy, and yet it is all internally consistent. I probably have lots messy, silly stuff -- but I kind of like it.
What was cut?
Lots of explication -- how Cobb was the "Protector" of species, both natural and supernatural. How he was a drunk.
I included lots of creatures I made up that I later cut.
Several chapters with authors -- C.S. Lewis, Arthur Conan Doyle (with Houdini), Charles Williams.
I also had some silly stuff, and some late additional characters and even several scenes late in the book that I had cut out.
I put all of it back in.
That's the great thing about digital -- it's not impossible to create several versions of the same book.
And you know what? I like it. Personally. Weirdly enough, I think it kind of livens up things.
It reminds me of how Deviltree was cut down to size -- and by any objective standard, based on response from publishers it was probably better. But I always liked the version just before that final steamlined version -- the messy, not quite so cut version.
It's a case of knowing intellectually that the book is probably improved if it is streamlined, but missing all the little extras I had written. The extras do add some history and tone and even character development, even as they slow down the story.
Thing is, the story goes sideways so much that maybe keeping this extra material doesn't really hurt it, but just fleshes it out and makes the sideways material more interesting.
Also, maybe I shouldn't be afraid of the "silly" because the whole idea is silly when you get right down to it, so pulling some of the more flamboyant stuff doesn't make it any less silly.
At the very least, I found two chapters that I think I do want to include again, even in the more cut version.
Or -- I may just go with the Director's cut, since the book probably going to please anyone anyway so I might as well please myself. It's a mess, which I probably really can't fix. So I might as go with the original fleshed out mess.
Just put it quietly online and hope that a few people like what I did.
I'm going to take the rest of today and tomorrow to further refine it -- and I may just hire Lara to take a stab at it again.
23 hours ago