The first incarnation of VICIOUS CIRCLE was called Full Circle, and had a climactic scene (force-changing Theo) based around having thirteen participants in the magical circle. When I submitted the manuscript to the editor who would eventually purchase it, she turned it down citing, among other things, too many characters in the story line. Using her rejection as a guideline, I went back and cut/added/changed many things and asked to resubmit. She said I could.
Included in the scenes cut from that manuscript was the entrance of the elder witches, characters that were part of the witch hierarchy. They resurfaced, and parts of their former scenes were modified, to fit into Hallowed Circle.
Here's the scene as it appeared in Hallowed Circle:
Lydia strode to the western end of the dais and gestured to the east. “Let the Elders enter the Covenstead!”
The eastern doors creaked open. Glowing rays of dawn fingered through, bringing crisp autumn air and birdsong with them. One by one, with infinitesimal slowness, four
old women filed in.
It was a kind of parade, a cavalcade of witches, a procession of disguised power. They were not a pretty sight.
Eyes sunken, skin sallow and waxen, wrinkled and scowling, they shuffled along as Nana did, their gnarled hands gripping their ceremonial staves tightly, aiding their slow progress.
Each wore ceremonial robes, flowing layers of gray and maroon and black. The lapels and cuffs of the robes were hemmed in silver designs: crescent moons for the first two, ankhs for the third, and pentagrams for the fourth. These variations meant something, gave clues to their status, but the symbolism was lost on me.
White hair, either thick and slightly frizzy or softly
curling ringlets, cascaded over their shoulders from under the wide brims of crooked, pointed hats, each with a band and silver buckle. The bands for the first two were maroon, the third was gray, and the last was deep, deep purple. Upon the bands were tarnished charms—badges they had earned. Among the charms, I saw spiders, crow’s feet, centipedes, snakes, fireflies, dragonflies—there were more I could not see.
The very air they stirred reached me and it carried a
promise: here, was unequivocal power.
The Elders were not to be trifled with.
Why had I ever thought I could hide what I was from
I think it turned out well. Both the reduced amount of characters for the first book, and the use of them in the second.
WEDNESDAY WORD-WHORE TIP:
Keep 'cuts' in their own document, in the order
they were removed from the manuscript.
When I am making cuts, I have a document called "cuts DOT (title of story)" and anything I remove from the manuscript goes in there just in case I have an urge at a later date to get out my miner's cap and pick ax and go in search of such fodder.
Or, if I have relented and want those scenes back, then I have them tidily all together, in the order they were removed from the manuscript, so finding them and tucking them back in is easier than searching through a former version of the manuscript.