Saturday, February 16, 2013

What to Do with Deleted Scenes from Your Novel

Amazon Kindle
Amazon Kindle (Photo credit: agirregabiria)
So, you've finished writing your book, but not everything fit.  Some scenes, chapters, and even characters had to be left on the cutting room floor -- a perfectly normal and healthy part of the writing process.

But wait!  Don't throw those extra scenes away.

Why discard them when you can put them on your blog, where readers can get extra behind-the-scenes glimpse into the workings of your novel?

Herewith is a scene I wrote for THE POWER CLUB, but left out for several reasons. Although I'm happy with the scene, it's not told from my main character's point of view. Also, it might be a bit disturbing for young readers.

(By the way, the event depicted actually does happen in the novel; however, we don't get to see it in "real time.")

If you've read THE POWER CLUB, you can compare this scene with what actually does take place in the novel.  (This scene would have fallen about midway through Chapter 10.)  If you haven't read the novel, you may want to do so to see what happens next.

What do you think?  Did I make the right call in deleting it?

Liberator’s Journal: Entry 7061

The flight attendant asks me if I want something to drink.  I pretend to be polite and tell her no.  She smiles and pushes the drink cart away.  Her calves are perfectly round behind her smoke-colored hose.  I almost regret what is going to happen.

Yes, we are at war, or so my cell leader tells me.  The people on this plane go about their business, chatting, listening to music, strapping their children in.  They would crucify me if they knew I was “special”. 

As the plane taxis down the runway, I feel an impending sense of dread.  I’ve never done this in an airplane.  It should be easy, though.  Falling is be no big deal, but I won’t be able to move until I’ve fully reintegrated.  Barney will have to find me before the cops.  He’d better get the coordinates right, or else.

“First time?” says the woman next to me.

Puzzled, I glance at her.

“Is this your first time flying?”

I shake my head. 

“Are you all right?” she says, staring at my hands.  I realize that I’m gripping the arms of my seat. The metal ends have started to melt.

I relax my hands, but I keep them in place to hide the damage.

“Bad cold,” I reply.

She seems satisfied and nods.

A full minute passes before she adds, “I always get a little nervous, no matter how many times I fly.  Do you fly often?”

At first, I do not look at her directly.  I never like to look at them, at the oppressors.  But I feel her eyes upon me. It would arouse suspicion if I continue to ignore her, so I look.

She is middle-aged, not very attractive, and slightly overweight.  Her grey-brown hair is plastered to the side of her face like a wavy picture frame.  It must have taken a full bottle of hairspray to get that effect.  Her jean jacket seems out of place.

“Not often,” I say.

The plane gathers speed as we prepare to leave the ground. G-forces press me into my seat, threatening to ignite my power.  I could let that happen now, but I must wait until the proper time. 

I look out the window as the ground falls away.

I hold my breath to initiate the change.  Deep within my body, I feel it begin, like a fuse being lit.  Acrid fumes force their way up into my throat and nose, burning them.  Not yet.

“Where are you from?” the woman asks.

Just my luck to be seated next to a talker. I swallow the fumes, causing indigestion.  When I’m able to speak, I pick the farthest place away that I can imagine.


Her face lights up.  “Houston, Texas?  My sister and her family live there. They’re on the northeastern side.” She rattles off names that mean nothing to me.

“I’m from the southwestern side,” I interrupt, “but I haven’t been there in a long time.”

“Where do you live now?”

“Out of suitcases, mostly.”  I heard that on TV once.

She leans forward, as if her interest has now truly been piqued. 

“Oh, you’re a businessman?  But you look so young.  My son is a businessman, too.  He also travels a lot.”

I strain to keep the bland expression on my face, hoping that she will get the hint and shut up.  The change continues to happen, and I feel it spread up my torso and over my shoulders. 

It won’t be long now.

She is telling me about her son and her grandchildren.  I tune most of it out.  I have to do that.  If I listen, she becomes a person, not a means to an end.

I steal a glance out the window.  We are still over the city. 
Then she says something that stops me cold.  “Are you from the district?”

I glance down at my hands.  There’s no way she could have seen . . .

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she says, covering her mouth with her hand.  “I meant the Middleton School District, not that other district.  I thought you were a book buyer.”

I relax.  Safe.

In an effort to cover my own embarrassment, I ask, “Is that what you are?  A book buyer for the Middleton School District?”

“No, I teach biology at Middleton High School.  I’m on my way to a teaching conference in Seattle.  I thought that’s where you were heading, too.  After all, you’re dressed so nice.”

I knew my business suit and tie were too much for a plane trip. It’s hard to know what the wear when you don’t get out much.  Her words only increase my discomfort, which grows as I try not to ignite too soon.

I glance out the window.  The city has given way to farmland.  “I’m not going to a conference,” I admit. 

“Where are you going, if I may ask?”

“To a funeral.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry.  Was it someone close to you?”

“I barely knew her.”

“You must have cared to come all this way.”

I look out the window for the last time.  The farmland gives way to the tiny forest trees.  The change within me builds to a crescendo.  My temperature rises ten degrees.

“Was it a relative?” she asks.

“The funeral I’m going to,” I say as I take my hands off the melted arms of the chair and turn to her, “is yours.”

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Dennis Young said...

Three things;
1) Yes, keep all your deleted scenes, and with today's technology, that's pretty easy to do.
2) I recall this and the other scenes dealing with this particular scenario in the original story and feel these are a perfect example of "the other side" to explore.
3) Just have to say it; when the woman asks "First time?" I'm reminded of the scene in the movie "Airplane" and the comeback: "No, I've been nervous lots of times". :)

Pos.Vibe.Only. said...

Shocker of an ending ! Power Play is now a "must read " Your writing style in this piece is fun and spontaneous --- the conversation vrs. the thoughts of : "I don't want to talk to you; hurry up, and shut up." easily kept the readers' at bay at what might you think next; but I never saw her death as impending ! 38

Greg Gildersleeve said...

Thanks for the comments, Denny and Pos.Vibe.Only. Hope you enjoy the novel, Pos.

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