I got two sets of crits back today from two awesome beta-readers. Not only did they catch a lot of little problems in the MS, but they also said super-nice things about my writing–my ego’s a bit inflated now, actually =]
One thing that they both mentioned (and they were both catching a lot of the same stuff throughout the book) was the Epilogue.
Essentially their comments boiled down to: it’s a cool scene, but not really needed.
Well. I’m never one to delete good writing if it can be of use elsewhere. So, cut/paste, and a little bit of expanding, and voila! New scene.
Here it is =]
(From “What Dante Didn’t Tell You” Chapter 16)
Melissa accosted me a few hours into the party, when everyone else was sufficiently drunk or—like Finn—completely engrossed in a game of touch football.
“Come with me.”
She didn’t give me much choice in the matter, leading me forcefully away from the quad, up the hill to the dorm where she still lived without me.
“What’s this about, Melissa?” I tried to slow down, but she kept dragging me along.
“It’s about us. It’s about us getting better—together.”
She pushed me through the front door of the building, and I went obediently up the stairs, a path that was still familiar. Whatever it was, I knew determination when I saw it. Easier to just go along with her than to fight it.
She struggled to unlock the door to our room; she was angrily stabbing the key at the lock, and it took her three tries before it swung open.
I went over and sat on my old bed, bare down to the mattress, and not doing much of anything for the general décor of the place.
Melissa dug around under her bed for a second, and came up with the shoebox from my closet.
She dumped it in my lap, and for the first time since I’d met her I saw a shimmer of something hard and resilient in her eyes.
“What the hell do you call this?”
I rested my hands on the top of the box. I didn’t want to open it. But I remembered how forceful I’d been in Finn’s bathroom with her that day, and I knew that because she was a good friend, she’d make me empty it out and confront each and every pill and razorblade in there.
She crossed her arms tightly across her chest, waiting for an answer. How she’s managed to contain this anger all through the party, I’ll never know. She was ten times the actress that I’d ever be.
“It’s just in case.” I picked at the corner of the box, not meeting her eyes.
“Just in case.” She rolled her eyes. “There’s no ‘just in case’ allowed, Amber. What if I told you I kept my stash of diet pills, ‘just in case,’ huh?”
I flinched, but didn’t say anything.
“Let’s go. Right now.”
When I looked up, she was waiting by the door expectantly, so I tucked my shoebox of shame under one arm and followed her. Again.
She held the bathroom door open for me, and led me into the far stall. I waited until she flicked the lock shut to look back down at the box in my hands.
Her voice was a little softer now, probably since she’d realized I was going to cooperate. “I know it’s hard, Amber, but you need to get rid of this sick little safety-net you have. You can’t really be better if you’ve got this exit-strategy just sitting around waiting for you, ‘just in case.’”
I nodded once, lifting the lid and letting it fall to the damp tile floor.
One at a time. Just do it one at a time.
The first pill-bottle shook in my hand, and I squeezed my eyes shut. I needed to do this. There wasn’t any other way.
The tiny capsules pinged against the porcelain as I dumped them into the toilet, watching for a moment as they hovered in the water, starting to dissolve already.
I uncapped another bottle, sending my Ambien stash the way of the Prozac. By the time my shoebox was empty, there were over ten thousand milligrams of chemicals swirling around below me.
My hand paused over the cold metal of the lever for just a second, long enough for me to feel Melissa’s fingers land softly on my shoulder.
“It’s okay,” I said. “I got it.” Purposely, I flushed, and in a spiraling of colors, they were all gone.