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” (101:59), 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.
We’re Dun for today, so keep on Writin’!
Next week we’ll discuss ‘Passive Voice versus Passive Verbs’
This series is not meant to be (nor will it be) simple static information.
I’ll be here for each post to answer questions, offer suggestions as necessary, and interact with you.
If there’s something you specifically want (or need!) to see addressed in terms of self-editing, please let me know in the comments under this, or any of the articles of the series.