Version 1 was 332 pages in Word, but it was about 760 pages in reality due to the word count. I didn’t realize how massive of an edit I would be making after this milestone. After about 7 full edit passes later, I widdled SIRENS down by about 30,000 words.
Cut content included:
-A full description of Eliana and her father preparing and embarking for Kamaria, originally they were involved in the intro with Denton but they never met. We had a very detailed look at the Odysseus Colonist team and the process of getting them to Kamaria during the war. This was the biggest removal, but sticking Eliana on Kamaria from page 1 was the right choice. (This could be a good short story!)
-The first official Scout of Kamaria to a place called the Hearth, where the scouts encounter something called a Hells Basilisk. This creature and event is still mentioned in the novel when Carl Gregory asks why they need to do an obstacle course.
-A different version of a scene that occurs in the novel, where Denton and the Scouts climb up a Colossal Timberman to avoid being trampled by a stampede in the Tangled Maze, only to be face-height to a few Titanovores, I ditched it because it didn’t add much, it was the “Jurassic Park Kitchen scene” but with no plot advancement.
-Originally Roelin’s story was one long chapter in Part 4, but beta readers thought we were away from Roelin for so long that they forgot about him. Instead, his story is now sprinkled as the intro to a lot of Denton’s chapters to show a contrast between the good life of Kamaria and the sinister life.
The best part about cutting content is the ability to use it later. Knowing how the characters worked form the cut Eliana content informed their moments later on in the novel. I had a complete history of how the humans made it to Kamaria, I just kept it in my head after cutting it out. It all became part of my notes and I was able to use these moments in the next two books in various ways.
I hope you liked this behind the scenes look at writing! If there’s any questions you’d like me to dive into, feel free to comment below! There’s a lot of hidden aspects to the Song of Kamaria.