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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

But I Like These Shoes!

They instantly add three inches to my height, and when you are only five-foot tall, that's a big deal. Unfortunately, I've seen the fashion police out on patrol, and we all know it is illegal to wear white shoes after Labor Day, no matter how good they make us feel. I don't have to trash them, though. They'll be useful in eight months or so. But for now, they are going in a box with all my other summer shoes (except the flip flops, of course, because they know no season). After Memorial Day, I'll smile when I pull out those white shoes because I'll still love them; they'll still make me feel tall; and they might go perfectly with my new summer outfits. I think of cutting scenes in much the same way. I may love a scene because it makes me feel taller, like I'm a great writer, but if it isn't useful to my story, it must go. This doesn't mean I have to trash it. I can put it in a box with all the other useless scenes and hope that some day it has its own season and its own place in one of my stories. Remembering this has made deleting scenes from my manuscript so much more bearable. Have you ever held onto a scene because it made you feel like a better writer when, really, it served no purpose? Or do you save deleted scenes in hopes that they will some day be useful? I don't know about you, but I'm guilty of doing both.

33 comments:

Janna Qualman said...

Great thinking! It makes a lot of sense, and why not go that route if we've enough storage space?

Faith said...

I definitely save everything... though I have a hard enough time cutting scenes out as it stands. Besides, you never know if that cut scene might end up fitting in (re-written, of course) after the majority of revisions are done. What if you need a little extra character development or conflict? Perhaps that scene could be modified to show that. You never know!

Girl Meets Gun said...

Yep! Do it all the time. I have a Word doc that has all the clipped scenes that I've loved but didn't use.

Isn't that what I wrote yesterday in a comment? ...I dunno, I'm delirious. Still haven't gone to bed.

For the record, I never put my white shoes away. They look fabulous during winter! ;)

Heather Sunseri said...

What a great idea. I've cut scenes before b/c they were simply not necessary. I should be saving those in a special place. Thanks for the tip.

Strange Fiction said...

I keep 'slush files' for everything I cut. I may never look at them again but it's so much easier on me than pushing delete. And you just never know...

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

That is a great idea! I'm definitely going to start saving the great scenes that I've had to cut.

I've been holding on to a story for a while that I started but wasn't working out. Now I'm beginning to wonder if that MC belongs in the one I'm brainstorming now. I hope so, because I love her!

TereLiz said...

That's such a great pov, as always! Thanks!

Natalie Bahm said...

Oh yes. Sometimes scenes are hard to let go. I did a brutal revision over the summer though and I cut anything and everything that wasn't vital (regardless of how much I loved it). It was hard.

I also have a cache of scenes saved up for later use. I don't know if I'll ever use them, but maybe someday.

EriCan said...

Great post. I was just thinking about the same thing as I slash through my first draft. I often have deleter's remorse. I also have a slush doc., but I have been known to delete and just let it go... out of site out of mind.

Cute shoes. Stacy and Clinton say you can wear white after labor day. They are the ultimate fashion guru's :)

Erica

Stephanie Faris said...

Well...from what I understand the whole "white after Labor Day" thing is bogus. Nobody below the age of 50 cares anymore. Of course, you have to endure the glares of those old-fashioned types, but I say wear white all year round if you want to! Heck, some of the old-timers I work with may stick their noses in the air at white shoes, but they wear knee-highs with skirts and pantyhose with open-toed sandals.

quixotic said...

What a great post, and cute shoes. I love "big girl" shoes, as I call them. I'm a shorty too so I love anything that makes me look taller.

Great job with the analogy, and great advice. Storing them ( the cut scenes) for later is a wonderful idea.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Oh, so true. ANd sometimes you discover months later that it does have purpose if you just put a tiny twist on it or something and it finds its way back in the original story you wrote it for. I did that once with a small scene at a humane society. Took it out, then months later in the rewrite, I realized I needed it back but with a tiny alteration to it. I never throw any scenes away, they are always safely kept in previous versions of my stories.

Novice Writer Anonymous said...

I have my old manuscript draft that contains what got cut. And then there are the outlines that have the odd chapter still floating in them because I then cut those chapters. But I don't save anything I cut out of the computer file. But that may be because I've not yet cut from the computer file.

As for white shoes after Labor Day, Stacy and Clinton would tell you that it's perfectly okay to do so. :D

FictionGroupie said...

I definitely save the scenes I cut. Just in case. I'm a scene pack rat.

Suzanne said...

Great Post. Many scenes from my first novel are the first 15 k of my third!

L. T. Host said...

I keep all my cut scenes too, just in case they become important later, or if I really like the writing, I can pull it out and use it some other time.

Kim Kasch said...

This ? asked of the ultimate CQ or CLUTTER QUEEN.

I save everything. Comes from being raised in a family with 9 kids. Everything can be reused, recycled and recrafted - no kidding :)

Corey Schwartz said...

Ah, a box full of useless scenes. Interesting image.

Dawn VanderMeer said...

I save my cut scenes (and even just cut lines that I really like) in a special file.

Cindy said...

I've definitely kept scenes in my story because I loved them even though they weren't helpful. It took awhile to learn that it doesn't make the book any better--and it isn't a credit to your writing. But it's a great idea to save those scenes or that concept. It might be perfect for another story in the future.

Patti said...

I have a file called Garbage and I put everything in there that I think is worth saving, plus I every time I sit down to do more edits I save it as a new version. I think I'm at 20.

Beth said...

The flip-flops know no season...that's hilarious! I would imagine that holding on to your cuts for other stories would make it easier, at least that's what I'm planning to do too!

Danyelle said...

I love the idea of saving the scenes. They're also fun for readers to see, kinda like the extras on DVDs, after they've read the book. One of my favorite authors does this, and I enjoy getting to know the story on a whole new level. :)

Tess said...

Oh yes, I save scenes and work bits of them into other novels or such. I also hang onto things...right now it is a prologue. I'm crossing my fingers it will be able to ultimately stay, but it is being nominated for the chopping block. We'll see what happens...

Girl in My Own World said...

Yeah, I know what you mean on this. My issue is moreso starting something and then not finishing it, but I still save it because I am thinking that someday I may use it. I hate to throw awway good writing and I think that you should keep yours!!! :o)

Also, guess what? I read in Womens Health that it is now acceptable to wear white after Labor Day!!!! I wrote a small post about it on my other blog to tell people that it is now longer a crime. They suggested wearing it with darker colors... I think. So, you can now wear white all year round! Yay!!!! :o)

Strange Fiction said...

I think it was Diana Gabaldon who gave me the idea to save all my cut scenes/paragraphs... I can see where she would have had a lot of opportunities to use them somewhere in her series.

Shawna Williams said...

One of my best short stories started as a scene that I had to cut. It was a hilarious farm incident that completely took on a life of its own -- diverted the focus of the chapter WAY too much. I cut it, and rewrote it from a slightly different perspective (same character, but as an old man) and now it's been published a couple of times.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I used to have a file for all my deleted scenes. Still holding out hope that it will be recovered with the rest of my hard drive :)

Robyn Campbell said...

She sighed and said, "I hate cutting my beeeaaauuutiful words, but alas, I know that I must if they're not useful."

And I love those shoes. Here in North Carolina, they wear white anytime! :) They do, I don't! :)Mama said, I mustn't ever wear white after Labor Day! :0)

The pale observer said...

I love the shoes - wedges are the best - you get the height and most of the glamour without wobbling around on tiny points!!

Definitely the idea of the slush fund of deleted scenes works best. Even if you never use them or even read them again - you know they're there and you didn't have to highlight - select all - delete!!! :)

Lesley said...

I can relate! In copywriting, less is more. I very often write a project, thinking the first paragraph is the most brilliant thing I've ever written. A few days later the client writes back: "Loved everything except the first paragraph." ("but I LIKE that paragraph," I want to yell) We cut it out and - voila! - the project is better after all.

Anna C. Morrison said...

Ah, what great shoes! Yes, I love the putting them in a box analogy. I have scenes that will go nowhere except for inside my heart. And that's where they belong.

Kelly H-Y said...

I've done both! Great comparison ... and CUTE shoes!!! :-)