Jennifer Gooch Hummer – deleted scene from Girl Unmoored

Welcome to the first post in Deleted Scenes! Today, I am interviewing myself (weird, I know, but I promise there are way more impressive authors to come) about scenes I deleted from my book, Girl Unmoored.

One of the questions I get from my readers is: “Why didn’t you show Apron’s mom anywhere in the book?”

I did.

I had to cut all the scenes out.

This scene was on page 129 of one of the first drafts of the novel, Girl Unmoored, which used to be called, Apron.

I dropped my pogo stick and headed down to the rocks. It looked like it had rained seaweed last night, and little black birds were bobbing up and down in the water. Birds were the luckiest people on earth. If God said, Apron, you can be anything you want the next time around, I’d be a bird. Then I would look down at the world, watching people be sad or happy, but not knowing which one was which because I was a bird.

Sea Glass Cave isn’t on the map. You just have to find it by accident.

“Don’t get lost in the fog, girls,” my mom warned us the day we found it, jumping from rock to rock, and disappearing into the thick white air. Rennie kept trying to keep up with us but her legs were too short and once in a while she had to bend over and crawl. I was a better leaper than Rennie but I made sure to stay behind her in case she fell and cracked her head and we couldn’t find her and I had to tell Mrs. Perry sorry, but her legs were too short to keep up.

And that was when I found Sea Glass Cave, which disappears at high tide. But at low tide, the floor is full of old china pieces and soft glass. When I found it, I yelled up to my mom and Rennie, but no one answered. So I filled my pockets with pieces of blue and green, white and yellow, only once in a while red. Still, no one answered when I yelled through the fog. Worry bit me in the stomach. I imagined Rennie falling into the water and pulling my mom down with her. So I ran home, little beanbags of sea glass socking me in the leg every step. In the kitchen, I picked up the phone to call for help, but then I heard the high whiz of the drill from the pantry. And when I walked in, the two of them were standing close enough to touch arms.

“Apron,” my mom greeted me, glancing up from the drill. “Rennie found four perfect sand dollars.”

“Perfect,” Rennie repeated, still stuck to my mom.

“You guys left me.”

My mom tipped her head. “Sorry. We were so excited about the sand dollars. What did you find?”

“Nothing” I said, because even though red is the top of the line in sea glass, nothing beats a sand dollar.

Whose idea was it to delete/rewrite these paragraphs (you, or your agent, editor, spouse, dog)?
An editor I was working with, who subsequently had to pass on the book (I nearly died), wanted 100 pages cut! That meant flashbacks with Apron’s mom had to go.

Why did these paragraphs/pages need to be deleted/rewritten?
Flashbacks can be very useful in delivering necessary exposition, but they can also drastically slow the pace of the story. In this scene, I wanted Rennie to compete with Apron for Holly’s affection. This was another way Apron was going to realize her friendship with Rennie was over. I also adored the Sea Glass Cave setting, which actually exists in the cliff rocks where I live in Maine.

Did you cry when you deleted/rewrote them?
So hard. I tried to sneak some flashbacks of Holly into a subsequent draft, but again, I found it slowed the story too much. All that is left of her is the photo Apron brings to Chad.

Come back and visit Deleted Scenes again soon!

About Jennifer Gooch Hummer

Jennifer Gooch Hummer is the award-winning author and screenwriter for her debut novel, GIRL UNMOORED. Raised in Boston, Jennifer graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in English and moved to Los Angeles where she read scripts for major talent agencies and production companies. A true believer in fairies, Jennifer currently lives in Southern California with her whistling husband, three teenage daughters, and two slightly neurotic rescue dogs. OPERATION TENLEY is the first book in the series, THE FAIR CITY FILES.
Deleted Scenes

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