As I've mentioned in an earlier post I chopped off the first hundred pages of my novel because they were all a "lead up" to the real action, which started too late. It wasn't an easy decision, slicing off three years of work. Some of it was good writing, sentences that took two hours or more to craft. But, as they say, "slaughter your babies." Part with the words you hold most dear. Those babies are what ruin your novel.
The new opening drops the main character right into the boiling water. As British ships glide towards New York Harbor, preparing to invade, Rebecca at first refuses to flee to Philadelphia as her father orders. She herself sneaks out of her house, watches the blizzard of British ships, runs into her lover, Alexander Hamilton, reads the Declaration of Independence, bades farewell as he goes off to defend the city from what promises to be a slaughter. Her own little brother wants to join the cause, but Rebecca "protects" him, interfering, potentially with the destiny it's his to determine.
"Everything that is right or reasonable pleads for separation..," says the then-anonymous author of Common Sense, a contemporaneous political writing of extraordinary power.
This tension between protection and enslavement is the very heart of the book, tentatively entitled, A TIME TO PART, based on the Thomas Paine quote. For the colonies,, the political question is, when is it time to part from a foreign power, long our protector, now a menace to our further growth? The same questions reverberate, on a personal level, in each of the main characters' souls as well.
This has been quite an experience, this "slaughtering" of my babies. Sorry kids!