Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Extra Bits

So my total word count as far as words written for the new demon book is about 12,000.

The total word count that's actually still in the manuscript? 5,000.

I've never stop/started and cut as much as this in the beginning, but since the rest of the book is much better planned than it usually is (I'm a pantser, so I usually have good beginnings planned and then the story peters out into the ether) I figure it will even out in the end.

And the good news is, some of the stuff I've cut isn't bad. I think some of it is simply later in the book.

So it's all going into my "Rewriteable" file. I keep one of these for every book I do. In some it's only a scene or two long. In others (like this one) it's pages and pages.

Personal Demons's rewrite file is about 23,000 words, all told. Quite a few entire scenes, and some snippets of conversation I cut because it didn't move the story forward but I liked the lines so much I figured I'd hang on to them in case they became useful later.

Some of it is, in fact. I have a scene planned for the new book set in a place I used in the first book but cut. So all that description I wrote will be put to use, which is nice.

I also plan to put a lot of it on the Stacia Kane website once it's up and running. Bonus content for readers, like on a DVD, along with a few original scenes just for fun--stuff that would hold back the story in a book but would give little bits of backstory or just scenes I think people might enjoy.

What do you guys think? Would you want to read deleted scenes from a book?

How much do you cut from your books, and do you keep it?


Karen Erickson said...

Yes I'd love to read deleted scenes from a book! :)

I keep one of those files too - I cut stuff that's decent but doesn't work sometimes. I hold on to it just in case, cos occasionally I have gone back and used it...somewhere else.

BernardL said...

So it's all going into my "Rewriteable" file. I keep one of these for every book I do. In some it's only a scene or two long. In others (like this one) it's pages and pages.

I think this is a great idea, and I confess to being one who is loathe to take anything out once I write it.

I would certainly read any excerpts you posted.

Vicki said...

I don't cut to many scenes during the first draft. That comes later.
But I do have scenes that I write because they won't leave me alone. The scenes are not the next one in the wip but ususally something I may want to use somewhere. Those scenes are kept in a scene folder. I know, not very original.

Anonymous said...

I keep everything I cut, too. It does sometimes come in handy or inspire a totally different work -even for poetry.

I also have a bunch of post-its with notes on them that I refuse to throw away -which doesn't exactly sit well with The Warden.

I love reading excerpts. -V95

Bernita said...

Waste not, want not - my mother's favourite proverb.
You never know when it might be useful.
For me, editing usually demands more expansion ( not that there isn't stuff that needs cutting.)

kis said...

I usually grab the stuff I want to cut (unless it's just a sentence or two) and drag it down to the bottom of the file. Of course, this gives me a false sense of how much I've accomplished, cause the word count is higher than it should be. Afterward, I drag everything I want to keep into a fresh, brand-spanking new file, and leave the old one as is.

I'd love to read deleted scenes. Especially those bits of backstory that didn't quite make it in. I've written several scenes that just needed to be written, knowing there was no reasonable way to work it into the WIP. At least I know that if I get published, they'll see the light of day, on my website if nowhere else.

writtenwyrdd said...

I love to see what hits the cutting room floor. Sometimes they are great scenes.

Angie said...

For me, it depends on the story. I usually don't cut much, but a few weeks ago I wrote a story with an SF base and my old SF worldbuilding instincts kicked in. The story just wasn't long enough to support much setting info, although being SF of course it needed a certain amount. I kept cutting and cutting and cutting and started completely over three or four times before it felt right. I have all the stuff I cut out saved in a file; I'm thinking of writing something novel length set in that universe and if I do then it'll come in handy.

If I just cut a little bit, a sentence or two or even a paragraph or two, I usually don't save it; it depends what it is and whether I think it'll be reusable or not.

And I enjoy seeing other people's cut bits -- it's like watching the Director's Cut on a DVD. :)


December/Stacia said...

Hey Karen! Nice to see you back!

Yes, I have been able to reuse stuff in the past, usually snippets of dialogue or description. I rarely get to use big chunks of stuff, though.

But it's so satisfying, isn't it, to be able to plug a chunk of something into your book? Like magically adding a whole bunch of words. It's like found money.

Oh, I hate taking stuff out, Bernard. It really pisses me off. I think a lot of it goes into the RW file just because I can't bear to lose it completely, even though I know I'll never be able to use it.

Heh, Vicki, but calling it a "Rewrite" file is original?

I don't usually remove this much in a first draft. I'm just having a hard time getting this one off the ground, sadly. I'm hoping as it moves along I'll cut less.

December/Stacia said...

Lol V95. I keep a notebook, and I write on scratch paper (I think I blogged about that once, how the hubs is always finding stray bits of paper with odd or suggestive things written on them.)

Oh I usually end up having to add stuff, too, Bernita! I actually find it easier to add stuff after the book is finished, oddly enough. But then I love editing.

Exactly, kis, a place to put your murdered darling. :-) I used to darg stuff to the bottom too but the word-count thing got to me. I check word count pretty obsessively, almost as often as I save which I do constantly. So I have to have it exactly right.

I know, written! Sometimes they're really cool. Or the original version of a scene that did make it, which I think might interest some people too.

December/Stacia said...

Exactly, Angie! Like a Director's Cut, lol.

And yes, stuff like that really helps later, I find.

I don't always keep individual lines and stuff, but sometimes if it's particularly good or I know I'll use it later I will--sometimes I put original bits in the RW file too, just so I don't forget it later.

Camille Alexa said...

Raymond Carver purportedly kept his bathrobe pockets overflowing with scraps of paper scribbled with scenes and inspired lines.

I love being able to save whole scenes, if I can, but I usually do the deleting after the book is 'rough' complete. I'll move the scenes to about the appropriate place in the ms and insert them into the middle of that section, usually with a page break on each side to show myself I have to work it in. If it's just a good paragraph or so, I move it to the end of the chapter I'm working on (usually with a few lines of blank space to separate it). If it's smaller than that, I scrap it if I can't work it in. If I'm deleting it in rewrites or later editing, I don't keep it, usually, but I might keep a saved version of a chapter until I think the 'working' version 'works'.

I'd totally read deleted scenes, especially if there was some accompanying commentary by the author about why she chose to delete them and why it made the finished product stronger.

Gabriele C. said...

I write out of order, so I don't know yet what might not make into the final version. I tend to save as many scenes as possible. :)

Anonymous said...

I do keep what I cut, but most of it stays cut.

I'm not sure I'd want to read deleted scenes. I mean, I've watched deleted scenes from movies (the ones that are advertised as a reason to buy a dvd) and most of the time I totally understood why the editor left it on the cutting room floor.

That said, a deleted scene could be an interesting promo item, or teaser....

McKoala said...

I have a cut file; most of it stays cut - it went out for a reason!

I'd be interested to read deleted scenes.

December/Stacia said...

That is way too complex for a simpleton like me, Camille! Lol. I'd love to not delete stuff, but I usually find I've written myself into a corner and am forced to start that section over. Bleh.

I wish I could write out of order, Gabriele. It just feels wierd to me, sadly. But I do hate having to keep a scene in my head until it's time for it.

Hmmm. Seeley, I usually enjoy even the deleted scenes, but my husband doesn't. So I guess you and he are alike in that. :-)
I figured I'd put them in a sepcial section of the site, with commentary, so people can choose whether they want to read them or not, because I know there are some who don't care.

Of course, this assumes people actually buy and read the book...

Hey Mckoala! I was just thinking about you yesterday! I couldn't find your blog, guh, I was going to email you today and ask for it! I totally need to update my links.

Rebecca said...

mmm - I don't think I would want to read cut scenes from a book - might spoil the magic a bit - make me all too aware of the whole writing process. (which already interferes when you write!)

hope that comment makes sense.

December/Stacia said...

Makes perfect sense, Rebecca. I wondered about that, too, but I figure if it's in a separate section people who want to read it can, and those who don't can avoid it. :-)