Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for Woolbridge, Jim

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I"ll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book, West of Paradise.

Today we have W for Jim Woolbridge, Pinkerton agent and Larry Sweet's partner. In my first draft of West of Paradise, there was a whole chapter devoted to Jim and Larry not to mention a number of scenes. Sadly, a lot was cut. Overall, I think the cutting made for a better, tighter, story, but I was sad to see Jim's character reduced. Ah, but here I have an opportunity to share some of those deleted scenes and in this one I was trying to not only highlight Jim's character but the city of Boston as Jim sees it. Here, Jim has been following someone who entered this door:

Louisburg Square - I took this when I went to Boston a few years back for a research trip.

       Number twelve, he found, committing it to memory and making a leisurely circle around the park. He was about to head back to the Amory-Ticknor House when he heard the sound of a door opening and shutting behind him. Slowly he glanced toward the sound and watched as the same servant emerged from number twelve, along with an exceedingly well-dressed woman whose face was hidden by the large plumed hat she wore. The two of them maneuvered a great pram down the steps and onto the walk where the servant took over pushing. Larry noted the direction they took and followed at a slow pace, down Willow Street, over to Chestnut, then Spruce, and out onto Beacon St.
       It was a fine day for a walk, sunny but not overly warm, with few clouds, and a light breeze ruffling down through the streets and making ripples on the frog pond. The smell of roasted peanuts drifted up from the Commons, making Jim’s stomach rumble and reminding him of his last meal, which had been less than satisfactory. He crossed the street, deciding to purchase a bag of peanuts, but waited until he had noted the destination of the two women and their charge in the pram.
     He hurried down the steps to the commons and found the peanut seller, handing over the appropriate coin in exchange for a small warm bag of peanuts. He popped one into his mouth and chewed.

Not exactly a thrilling scene...which may be why it was cut. Editors know these things. 

W is also for West of Paradise


  1. Yeah, if it doesn't move the story forward, it's gone. Wonder why he was spying on those women?

  2. I agree with Alex. Anything that isn't creating conflict, shedding light on the characters, or otherwise moving the pace of the story... cut. BUT, I understand your sadness at cutting characters YOU loved.

  3. I've had to cut a few scenes from my own stories when I realised I was actually not interested by my own scene. ;)

  4. I hate cutting characters, and I hate cutting scenes. I hate cutting anything unless it's a chocolate cake, but unfortunately too often in my writing I have to get out the hatchet.

  5. You have tons of exciting elements wrapped into this story. Maybe a sequel with your Pinkerton guys.

  6. Yeah, I see why it had to be cut. But maybe it can be resurrected later?

  7. I enjoyed this scene because I loved imagining Boston as I was reading. Such a fun city to wander around in. :)

  8. Well, the scene did catch my interest a little but it was the kind you can usually do without. But it left me craving some fresh roasted peanuts.

  9. Congratulations on the release of your book and I wish you all the best! Cheers!!

  10. Yeah, I know what you mean, but I want a bag of peanuts now. LOL!


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