Recently, I’ve been re-writing lots of The Art of Letting Go (!!!!), and it’s been going really well. (I keep falling even more in love with this story, it’s insane.) I say “re-writing” because it’s not editing; I’m literally putting in big chunks of writing and taking out equally big chunks. I’m doing this because I didn’t really have a plot when I started writing it last year, and I came up with the plot as I wrote it. (Not recommended, btdubs.) So I’m working more on layering (#ThanksWayneThomasBatson) than editing. Editing will be a completely different monster. (#yay)
To be honest, I never really read though the stuff I wrote while I was doing Camp NaNo last year, so I’m actually reading through the whole thing for the first time as I edit! It’s neat to read it in order, because my mind was all over the place while I was writing it.
So anyway, I’ve decided to give you guys a deleted scene – something I cut out. This takes place a few scenes after David dies. Even though I liked the banter between Daniella and Kyle, it was way – WAY – too happy for that moment in time. I feel bad about giving you guys an awkwardly-written scene that has a lot of incorrect information in it (in the next draft, Kyle isn’t a photographer, never leaves town that summer, doesn’t have a nickname, and Avery isn’t a ballet dancer), plus the fact that these characters are totally different now (right here, they sound too much like characters from Becoming Nikki), but that’s the point of behind-the-scenes stuff, right? Raw writing from the author. … Right? *sweats nervously*
“Two in the morning is early enough that it doesn’t count, Ky-ky.”
“Don’t call me that,” Kyle tells me, firmly, but with a twinkle in his eye. “Or else I’ll bring out your nickname.”
My eyes widen. “You’ve never told anyone, have you?”
Kyle grins slyly. “No… but now I have something to tease you with in case you ever do something I don’t like. Boo-yah!” He pumps his fist. I sit up and punch him on his side. “Hey!” he protests, holding up his hands. “All I wanted are some cookies!”
I smile a little. “Okay. But you have to make most of them yourself – I don’t really feel like making cookies today.”
“Deal. Race you to the kitchen!”
Kyle jumps up and runs into the kitchen. I follow close at his heels, then dash past him, sticking out my tongue as I slap the counter.
He stares at me incredulously. “Where’d that come from?”
I grin. “Just give me a pile of chocolate chips and I promise not to tell.”
Kyle rolls his eyes, but dutifully pours a few dozen chocolate chips onto the counter in front of me. I sit on the barstool and watch him. He knows where everything is – he’s known ever since we’ve been friends.
“Yeah?” he replies, pulling the sugar out of the cabinet.
“Remember when you’d come over and make cookies and then study, a long time ago?”
I can hear the smile in Kyle’s voice. “Of course.” He turns and grins. “How could I forget?” He pours sugar into a cup measure. “Good times.”
I stare at his back, reminiscing. Of course, all of that was before trig and calculus, before his girlfriend, Avery, and before David. I swallow and stare at my chocolate chips. Things changed after that. ‘We’re still friends… right?’ I frown a little.
“Hey, how’s Avery?”
Kyle turns and shoots me a weird look. “That’s random.”
“I know.” I shrug and try to stack the chocolate chips into a mini leaning tower of Pisa. “I was just wondering. I haven’t seen her for a while.”
Kyle doesn’t answer for a minute. When he does, it’s a little hesitant. “She’s good. Really busy, with the dancing and all.” He glances back at me as he whisks ingredients together. “Did I ever tell you that she finally made it into that camp this summer?”
I look up, a little shocked. “Really? Wow. I bet she’s pretty excited.”
“You have no idea,” he says, grinning. “She can’t stop talking about it.”
“I wouldn’t be able to stop talking about it, either. Think she’ll be able to make it into a big company – Atlanta or New York, maybe?”
“Oh, she’s definitely got her sights set high. She’s going to New York after the camp, scope it out and everything. I’ll be gone this summer, too.”
My brow furrows. “Wait, where are you going?”
“Photography camp.” He freezes and stares at me. “I thought I told you about it.”
I decide to mess with him a little and frown at him, feigning amazement. “Photography camp? We didn’t discuss this…”
“Come on, Danni.” He puts down the bowl and leans on the other side of the island. “I don’t have to tell you everything about my life, do I?”
“Not everything…” I turn and fold my arms, sticking my nose in the air. “Just when you’re going to be gone for weeks on end. I’d like to know when you find new friends and leave me behind.”
“Shut up, Dan,” he tells me, laughing. “You’ll always be my best friend.”
I drop the charade, a little confused. “I will?”
“Of course,” he says with a wink.
I don’t know what to say. Thanks, I guess. He starts singing a song in high falsetto. I grin and join him.
For a minute, it’s just like old times. And I love it.
WOW, I HATE THAT. UGH. Don’t kill me, guys. The book is so much better now. Great, now I feel like I have to give you another excerpt to show you how good it gets. Ugh. *looks for better excerpt* Okay, here’s the next draft of that scene. (I told you it got longer. : P)
For a while, Kyle and I just sit in the living room, side by side, with my head on his shoulder. He doesn’t say anything, and I’m fine with that. I’m just clinging to the fact that someone cares enough about me and what I’m going through to just be there.
I’m nearly asleep when Kyle leans over and whispers into my ear, “I want some cookies.”
I smile, opening my eyes. “Well, Mal and I ate the rest of them last night… and this morning.”
“Cookies before breakfast? Naughty, naughty.”
“Two in the morning is early enough that it doesn’t count.” I close my eyes again. “And I’m too tired to make cookies right now.”
“What if I make them?” Kyle suggests after a short moment of silence.
“Fine with me.”
Kyle nudges my head with his shoulder. “Come on.”
I follow him to the kitchen, dropping down into the stool that has become so familiar to me in the last few days. Kyle starts pulling ingredients out of the cabinets.
“You know,” he says, glancing at me with a Kyle-esque twinkle in his eyes, “in anybody else’s kitchen, this would be weird.”
“In anybody else’s kitchen, you’d probably be able to find the ingredients for cookies,” I mumble, unimpressed. I set my arms on the counter and rest my forehead on them.
“You’ve got everything I’ll need.”
“Surprise, surprise.” I close my eyes, thinking about when I’ll need to go to the grocery store again. I sometimes had Dad bring home essentials on his way home from work, but, most of the time, I just did the grocery run after work once a week.
I hear a lot of little somethings drop on the counter in front of me and I pull my head up.
Kyle shakes the bag of chocolate chips and a few more fall out, making a small pile a few inches away from my arms. “Merry Christmas,” he says with a teasing smile.
I pop one in my mouth and start sucking on it. “Thanks.”
After a few minutes of melting, measuring, and stirring, Kyle pauses, glancing around the kitchen. “You moved the spatulas.”
“Mal said they’re supposed to go in the drawer with the other bigger utensils,” I tell him, resting my chin on my arms.
Kyle makes a face. “Well, that’s lame. Tell Mal that they obviously need to go with the measuring cups.” He takes the three spatulas out and puts them back in their proper drawer. “They’re for baking, not cooking.”
I smile a little, ready to go back to the time when I used to tease Kyle about his love for cooking. “And the difference is…?”
“Daniella, what will I do with you?” he asks, sighing and feigning annoyance. “How many time do I have to tell you the difference?”
“Obviously a lot more,” I reply.
Kyle rolls his eyes. He leans against the counter with the bowl in his hands so he’s facing me, and starts gently stirring the wet ingredients together.
“Dude.” I hold up a hand, staring at the bowl. “Use a whisk. That’s gonna take forever, the way you’re doing it.”
“The way I’m doing it,” he counters, glancing up at me, “is better than using a whisk. Whisks are for, like, hot chocolate and sauce that you make in a pot on the stove. This is called folding, and it’s an art.”
“Whatever,” I tell him, rolling my eyes.
“Whatever,” he replies, doing the same.
I smile, remembering the easy banter we had before everything changed a few years ago. Before we got significant others, I tell myself. “Hey, speaking of, how’s Avery?”
“We weren’t speaking of Avery,” Kyle tells me, his eyes lighting up at her name nevertheless.
“I was thinking about her. Same thing. How’s she doing? I haven’t seen her in a while.”
“She’s great. Saving the world, one charity at a time. The usual.”
“Last I heard, she was in NYC with that internship,” I probe. The truth is, he hasn’t mentioned her recently because, also last I’d heard, their relationship wasn’t going so well. I don’t worry about this much, because I know he can do so much better.
“Yeah, that ended about a week ago. She’s in Cambodia now.”
Kyle smiles – a genuine so-in-love smile, complete with blushing cheeks. “Yeah.”
Okay, maybe they’re doing better. I pop another chocolate chip in my mouth. “How’s her gap year?”
“It’s good,” he tells me, looking up at me. “She’s good. It’s all good. Tell me, why the sudden interest?”
I shrug and don’t reply. He starts “folding” in the dry ingredients and my mouth starts watering. Kyle’s cookies could, given the chance, solve world peace. Alas, the world would never be truly at peace because Kyle was too embarrassed to tell anyone about his wicked baking skills.
“She got that big job she wanted,” he finally tells me, unable to keep it in. “You know – the one up in D.C.?”
“Oh, did she? Fantastic,” I evenly say.
“Yeah. I’m gonna go visit her.” He looks up for a second. “I might be gone a lot this summer, actually.”
I look up at him, frowning slightly. “Really? Why?”
“Just a lot of random stuff – nothing major,” he says, busying himself with the cookie dough.
I drop my head in my arms again. “Why is everyone in my life leaving me?” I mumble.
“What’s that?” Kyle asks.
Meh. Needs more work, but you guys can tell it’s ever-so-slightly better, right?
Well, I’d better post this before I get too self-critical and chicken out. If you want to see more of my writing, you can click on the orange tab on the far left side of my blog and find the tag marked “Daniella” (the working title for this novel). Or you can just click on the tag on the side of the blog post, under and to the left of the blog post title. Whatever floats your ark. (#ChristianReference)
(Let me know in the comments if you guys want me to do more posts about The Art. I’m thinking about doing a Pinterest-inspired post, explaining some of the pins on my board for The Art, and maybe a playlist for the story. What do you guys think?)