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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Author Insight: Story Scraps

What value, if any, do you find in a scene or entire story when you reach the point at which you realize just isn’t working? Do you ever save bits & pieces for later use?

"I save everything. It’s important to keep your incunabula for the inevitable post-mortem 48 Hours special." - Daniel Marks, author of Velveteen.

"If I cut something, I put it in a separate document, just in case.  So far I haven’t gone back and integrated any of these pieces elsewhere, but I wouldn’t rule it out." - Lenore Appelhans, author of Level 2. 

"I’m a packrat when it comes to my writing. I cut scenes all the time, but I always save them. Often I do use them later, if not the whole scene than a snippet from it, or even just a sentence or a turn of phrase." - Lili Peloquin, author of The Innocents

"I don't do a lot of preparation for a novel before I start writing, so I end up making many mistakes. But every blind alley helps me map the world I'm writing about. I try not to make the same mistake twice, with the idea that when I run out of mistakes whatever remains is the correct thing to do!" - Steven Arntson, author of The Wrap-Up List.

"When I wrote The Day Before, I pulled some of the poems at the beginning from a book I had started to write years before that never went anywhere. So yes, I do save the stories I've written that didn't get published and the 'false starts' because maybe I'll want to go back to those at some point. As far as saving scenes, if I'm cutting something from a manuscript, I don't save those, though you've made me realize maybe I should!" - Lisa Schroeder, author of Falling for You

"I believe you learn from every word you write, whether or not you ever use it in a finished project." - Allen Zadoff, author of Since You Left Me.

"I save everything, including stories I’m fairly sure will never see the light of day. For a WIP, I use a folder labeled Deletions for snippets, sentences, and paragraphs. Complete scenes go in a separate folder labeled Deleted Scenes. Everything is worth keeping if at some point it allows you to develop a character or story more fully. It’s painful to cut, but sometimes you can resurrect during revision." - Pamela Mingle, author of Kissing Shakespeare.

"Sometimes you have to wander down the paths a story shouldn't take before you double back and realize which road will take you to the end. Personally, I don’t think anything is ever wasted. I save multiple drafts of both my books and individual scenes. It’s not uncommon for me to go back to a scene I've scrapped and pull out a sentence or idea for use somewhere else." - Kathleen Peacock, author of Hemlock.

"I have a bits & pieces folder, but if I have to be completely honest, I find that most of the things that end up in that folder never get used again. When a scene isn't working, you have to be willing to let go--even if there are bits of brilliance in the scene. You make up for it later." - Trish Doller, author of Something Like Normal

"Many years ago I wrote three-quarters of an adult epic fantasy book involving a magic system based on four-dimensional geometry. Unlikely as it sounds, I've recycled large parts of that for my new YA angel romance comedy. Never throw anything away!" - Helen Keeble, autor of Fang Girl

"Oh, I definitely save lines, characters, ideas, bits and pieces of scenes, and even sections of stories for later use. I have several stories--some complete, even--that are waiting for me to figure out what's not working, and to be called back to them. Thank God for computer hard drives, or I'd need an extra house to store all those bits of paper." - Susan Vaught, author of Freaks Like Us

Find out Thursday if the rest of the authors save bits and pieces to use later!

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to erase whole scenes sometimes, so I save them in another document, so it doesn't hurt as much to cut them, but I never wind up using them, so I can completely relate to Lenore Appelhans.