Have you ever written a fabulous scene, section or chapter that made you feel like you should win the Pulitzer Prize? Oh, admit it. I’m talking about those times when your writing seems to soar. The descriptive detail is so vivid you feel like you’ve stepped into the story. The dialogue and quirky and interesting—not on the nose. Never on the nose. It’s your best writing and one of your favorite scenes. But when you put on your editor’s hat, you realize that it doesn’t move the story along.
You must cut it.
It feels like amputating a limb.
When I’m writing a book and have to cut scenes like this, I can’t bring myself to delete them forever. I open a folder labeled Deleted Scenes and put them there where they languish in the dreary depths of my computer. Never making it to the printed page.
Those are not happy writing days for me. One of the things that keep me inspired as a writer is following authors and screenwriters whose writing I enjoy. To that end, let me just be honest. Yes, I cyberstalk Tyler Perry. Can’t help it. It’s an addiction.
I follow Janet Evanovich on twitter and laugh out loud at the one liners her characters spout. I follow good writers on Twitter and Facebook. If they offer newsletters, I sign up to get them in my email inbox.
One of the newsletters I read is by bestselling author Patricia McLinn. I’ve read all the books in her Caught Dead in Wyoming series. My only objection to Patricia is that she can’t write as fast as I read.
This morning, as I read her latest newsletter, I found a great morsel that I wanted to share with you. She announced a new book release and said this about it:
“I love this story, or I’d surely have let it go a decade or more ago;-) I dug back into my files and found an early draft of a scene from 2003. Maggie Frye and J.D. Carson were right there on the page, although at that time the story started with “There’s a verdict.”
“Maggie, J.D., and all the rest have watched a lot of other characters get their chance while they waited…not patiently. They’ve never been patient. But persistent, oh yes. Now it’s their turn.”
She rifled through her deleted scenes from 2003 and found a treasure trove that she reworked into a whole new book!
That made me wonder what treasures I have lurking in the dungeon of my computer. It made me wonder if my external hard drive was still backing up everything on my computer each day. Might there be something among those outcasts that could inspire a whole new book? Or a magazine article?
It had never occurred to me to mine for inspirational treasures in the bowels of my own computer! I do admit that it helps if, like Patricia McLinn, you write a whole slew of series books. Still, can you imagine what is lurking in your computer, waiting for a chance to be read?
I encourage you to keep your deleted files somewhere safe. Who knows, maybe someday that’ll be resurrected into a book the rest of us can’t wait to buy!
Until then, keep writing and be sure to meet us at the Renaissance Hotel for the conference merging Write Well, Sell Well with Red Sneakers. There’s a new date too. The conference is Labor Day weekend, August 31 through September 2.
Following the conference, for those of you who’re hungry to take your writing to a whole new level, we’re adding a bonus day of Monday September 3. We’re offering master classes in fiction, turning novels into screenplays, marketing, writing nonfiction and digital marketing. Register soon as the hotel will only hold the discounted room rate until July 31.