Take (a few more) Shots

Anytime a book is published there are things that don't make the final print. That doesn't mean those details "don't count" or that the work was for nothing. I think the strongest stories and characters contain a depth beyond what makes it to the printed page. To celebrate the release of the third Teammates book, Full Strength, I want to share a few insights and cut scenes from the previous books. There are no real "spoilers" in the post, but there are in the linked chapters.

When making notes to my narrator on Take Shots, I said, "idk if it can come through in the narration but the contrast of how [Fitz] starts the evening so stupid with happiness should contrast how that happiness falls off a cliff, hitting all the emotional rocks on the way down." And I think that's a really apt metaphor for how Fitz's life feels in book two. It's a hard book. But that's what makes it the most important to me. And that's also what makes book three so incredibly cathartic. If Fitz ends Take Shots at the bottom of a rocky emotional canyon, Full Strength is where she starts to climb back up.

Everybody has their emotional canyons in life. And they don't usually follow the classic "Freytag's Pyramid" story-telling model that we learn in school. Life isn't set up for the exact path of Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, Resolution. Different parts of life and experience intertwine. There are deeper reasons behind our actions than simple reactions to a single "inciting incident." One thing I strive for in my writing is to show the complexity of my characters' lives. 

For Fitz, her story has three major prongs: her team, her friends, and her husband. Situations with her husband impact her team, her friendships impact her relationship with her husband, and so forth. But there are other factors that impact why she does what she does that are relegated to "background detail" status, things like her faith, her family and up-bringing, those early years with Tom when he was the boyfriend of her dreams. The first of the cut chapters I want to share takes place during Take Shots but gives a little more insight into Fitz's upbringing and early years with Tom.

Cut Chapter: Fitz's Thanksgiving in North Carolina

There's only so much a writer can cram into one book. But trust me, there is so much more behind each of the characters than makes it to the page. Here are a few random facts about Tessa you might never read about in a published book: 

  • Tessa's last name is White 
  • Her family ancestry includes Dakota on her dad's side and German on her mom's
  • Her older brother lives in the San Francisco Bay area in California and does physics research at UC Berkeley
  • Tessa grew up deer and duck hunting with her dad 
I do have a little story about Tessa's experience hunting, but it might still make it into book 4, so it's not going up here. Instead I'm going to share a deleted scene from around the same time as the Fitz one above. Tessa's story arc with her parents is one that I know has touched some of my readers on a deep personal level. And it will continue into book four, but for now, here's a bit from early on in that journey (that I'm totally not mostly excited to share because of a subtle dirty joke).

This post has gotten long enough so I will come back to Michelle and Dawn at a later date. Michelle's deleted chapter is full of fun Michelle-style rage and that Dawn's is hella geeky, so tune later for that!

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