After you’ve finished your first draft, you may decide it is too long and start cutting scenes, and maybe even whole sub-plots. Do you preserve this material, or do you stuff it into the bin without reservation?
Some writers save several (or many!) versions of their work, thereby preserving previous sections. Along that line, some authors email their book to themselves every night. This also guarantees an earlier (or the current) version isn’t lost.
It might be better, though, to place the cut sections into a separate document where you can easily find them. After all, they might fit in beautifully (with a little tweaking) with the next book you write, or in a sequel to the current book! Some authors say they keep a separate folder on the computer for each book, where everything pertaining to that book can be found, so they store it there. If you’re semi-organized but not quite that organized, you could use the title of the book and the word “Deletions” at the end.
In the previous article, “Character Profiles”, I talked about character sketches and putting your characters into funny or extreme situations to see what they would do. Consider hanging onto this material, too, in some manner, even if that specific character is ultimately not used in the book. He or she might be just who you are looking for in another book.
So now you have all this saved material that you may or may not use on a sequel or another book. Is there any use for it right now? Yes!
Fans would love to see it on your blog, either as additional history/background information on your characters, or a “what if this had happened instead?” scenario, or an alternate ending. And readers who haven’t purchased your book yet may be drawn into the story and the characters—so this is a good marketing tactic. Just be sure you don’t use, or reveal, anything that would spoil a sequel.
Now to move onto another point: This post appears five days after the two year anniversary of when the first article was published (12th November 2013). Did you know this post makes 60 Dun Writin’ tips that have appeared on The Story Reading Ape’s blog? It’s time for a break. I’m certainly not saying there won’t be any more Dun Writin’ articles, because I have a whole text document full of ideas! Time available to write them has been scarce lately, though. Chris and I are both hoping to keep the series going, even if sporadically.
We’re Dun for today, so keep on Writin’!
Owner, Adirondack Editing