Marc Estrin

From the Cutting Room Floor

The manuscript for my debut novel, Insect Dreams, went in at 900 pages, and emerged at 500. Talk about weight loss! It was my introduction to editing and being edited, and to my valued mentor, Fred Ramey. Cutting, it seems, has not so much to do with the inherent worth of the material, but with how it aids or impedes the larger flow of the work.

Some cutting involves characters, themes or threads, and requires delicate surgery and rewriting. But some is mere lopping off, often leaving engaging material whole on the cutting room floor.

Readers of my published work might be interested in seeing some things that didn’t get into the book. As each novel appears, I’ll gather some such material, if any, and post it in this section. Because these excerpts were cut at an early stage of editing, they haven’t been polished to the same degree as the published chapters — so rougher writing ahead, and please excuse.