I’m very sorry, Chapter Two, but you are going to have to go. Yes, I know we’ve been together for several months now, but it really isn’t working out for me. It was all very exciting back then: I’d just finished Chapter One – of my very first novel – and it felt like I was on a bit of a roll. The words just fell onto the page, it felt fresh, new, exciting. I was doing things I’d never done before – and all thanks to you. I’ll always be grateful, you know that.
But things have moved on since then. I finished the rest of the first draft a couple of months ago now, and I’ve been struggling to whip the whole thing into some sort of shape that someone else might possibly want to read. Chapter One has been completely rewritten twice: and Chapters Three to Eight have been tweaked, twisted and revised so that I can hardly recognise them.
But you, Chapter Two, have remained unaffected as I’ve chopped and created characters, added and removed whole story lines. It makes me think that you’re not really connected to the rest of the story. Dare I say it, possibly even redundant? If you’d come later on, I might have got away with it: perhaps, halfway through, you could have been an amusing diversion or interlude between two more intense scenes. But right at the beginning, when The Reader will just be struggling to get to grips with what the story is about? Sorry, I just don’t see it any more.
And then there’s the question of the style. Way back then, when I first wrote you, I didn’t really know what sort of story I was writing. Now, as everything else around you has been rewritten and revised, you look as out of place as a 1950s shop front, alone in a parade of twenty-first century glass and chrome. Or like an actor who’s wandered onto the wrong set – a Roman Centurion walking down Sunset Boulevard, or a spaceman in an Elizabethan court.
So, Chapter Two, this is it. Next time I open up the manuscript, you’re for the chop. Maybe we’ll meet up for coffee one day – in a short story, perhaps. I’m sorry it had to end this way: but we’ll always have The Elephant.