Thursday, June 25, 2009

Saving the scraps.

One of my most satisfying moments as a writer is taking pieces from discarded drafts and using them in current ones. Sure, 98% of your blood, sweat, tears, coffee, and carpal tunnel is in the garbage, but it's that 2% that makes me feel like it wasn't a complete waste. For example, pieces of my Maddy version of Chapter 10 is now spread among June's Chapter 10 and Nina's Chapter 11, and two scenes will go into Maddy's Chapter 12.

Last night, I took a scene in which Nina and Maddy were on swings in a deserted playground and switched it to Nina's (close third person) perspective. It also shifted in time -- originally, it was two days after the big Halloween party drama of chapter 9... now it's five days later. So their conversation was different, we saw inside Nina's head instead of Maddy's, and I even described the setting differently. That was actually my favorite part - the Maddy-centric narrator mentioned only in passing the "rusty monkey bars and a lone hippopotamus," but my Nina-centric one began: Nina had chosen the deserted playground near Maddy’s house because of the hippopotamus. It always made her smile, with its chipped purple paint and giant butt. It had sass like only a lavender hippopotamus could.

Nina would truly appreciate that hippo.

Anyway, saving the scraps of your discarded drafts is like sifting for diamonds. Finding the line of dialogue or phrase or even just one perfect verb and choosing a new home for it. And what girl doesn't like diamonds?

1 comment:

  1. This is what has been happening to me sort of. I mentioned before that my characters like to jump the gun, up the ante, and increase the drama prematurely and I end up having to cut the scene, but then I realize that a little while later, the scene is suddenly appropriate and I can use it and make it better and that's fun!


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