By: Shana Silver
or Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: August 27th, 2019
Arden sells memories. Whether it’s the becoming homecoming queen or studying for that all important test, Arden can hack into a classmate’s memories and upload the experience for you just as if you’d lived it yourself. Business is great, right up until the day Arden whites out, losing 15 minutes of her life and all her memories of the hot boy across the school yard. The hot boy her friends assure her she’s had a crush on for years.
Arden realizes that her own memories have been hacked, but they haven’t just been stolen and shared… they’ve been deleted. And she’s not the only one, the hot stranger, Sebastian, has lost ALL of his memories. But how can they find someone with the power to make them forget everything they’ve learned?
Like most books, MIND GAMES went through several rounds of revisions and quite a lot ended up on the cutting room floor, ranging from major subplots to characters to beloved scenes. Here’s a list of the five biggest items that didn’t make it into the final draft of the book:
Time Travel: In the original draft uploaded to the SwoonReads website, there was a large time travel subplot. Time started going backward for the characters and Arden and Sebastian had to figure out why and how to stop it…or if they even wanted to stop it. Originally, this was the solution to one of the book’s mysteries (what is the project Arden and Sebastian were working on before they lost their memories. Answer: time travel!). But in revisions, it became clear that not only was the time travel not working with the rest of the narrative, it wasn’t even necessary. I was able to lift the entirety of time travel out pretty easily and write a whole new act 3. Arden and Sebastian’s mysterious project now has an entirely different answer that makes much more sense in context!
Charlotte: Originally, Arden had two best friends, Zoey and Charlotte. Zoey was more outgoing and fun and Charlotte was level-headed and analytical. Early readers were drawn to Zoey but not Charlotte and deemed her boring. Additionally, readers didn’t believe that Arden would even be friends with her. It was easy to combine the important aspects of her character into Zoey and get rid of her entirely.
Party scene: Although this scene still gets a brief mention in the book, it once played a much bigger role and was told via several different people’s memories. Important chunks of the memory had been deleted and so readers got to see the edited version and eventually the unedited version. But over the course of versions, we realized the scene was taking away from Arden’s main investigation and the only real information she learned in the party scene was something she’d already figured out elsewhere anyway, so this scene got deleted.
Blackouts: In the original draft, Arden would lose chunks of time that she referred to as blackouts. We first saw this in chapter one as she’s sitting in the courtyard selling memories and all of a sudden she blinks and it’s twenty minutes later—she has no recollection of what happened during the missed minutes. This was partly removed as a result of removing the time travel subplot but it was also removed because I found other, better ways to show that her memories were being deleted. Instead we get to see the entire courtyard scene uninterrupted…and we also get to follow along with Arden’s horror as she watches a vital memory being deleted.
Date night: Originally, Arden and Sebastian went on a double date with two other characters (can’t say who without spoiling). While the scene was cute…and awkward…it ultimately served no plot and therefore had to be removed.
Despite killing a lot of my darlings, I don’t miss any of them! The book is far stronger without them!
Rachel Shane (writing as Shana Silver) studied creative writing at Syracuse University. She’s been a computer animator, an e-book creator for a major publisher, and now works as a Project Manager in digital and TV advertising where she enjoys telling people what to do. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, young daughter, and the characters she dreams up.
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author image, info, giveaway, and more were provided by Xpresso Book Tours.