Shark punching has become Hand, Tongue and Coin, all things relating to deadman magic in this world. I had hand and coin being shown as to why it would be important in the plot, but I just told the readers that what you can do with a hand, you can do with a tongue.
A perfectly decent scene in draft two became a perfect place to showcase what you can do with a deadman’s tongue for magic, and spelling that out made me realize that a completely separate thing that I had included just because it was important suddenly worked perfectly with the magic system.
I’ve really been noticing how much most of the fantasy I’ve been reading of late is perfectly flat. High detail can sell the big leaps; if you can show the reader that you can describe something you’re both familiar with in a way that feels right, when you tell me they can fly, I’m more likely to go along with it, but bogging the story down in boring activities described in excruciating detail is just excruciating. If you’re writing a fantasy, even in the opening scene but also, especially in the opening scene, I want to be sold on the wondrous. So I put stuff in the beginning that I don’t know why it belongs. I don’t have to know while I put it in. But the way it turns out that it’s important, to me, is the most interesting part of plot.
And what goes nowhere gets cut, so no one has to see all the times the bat and the ball do not make a solid, sweeping connection. Near misses in baseball are almost as exciting as the massive cracking ball-on-bat action. Intentional near misses in fiction work almost as well, too. Not connecting without a reason as to why? Cut.