So, you know the extras on a DVD, and how, more often than not these days, there’ll be a bunch of deleted scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the movie, so they slap them on the DVD?
Well, I have a similar thing I do when I’m writing or, more particularly revising, I keep a deleted scenes file almost from the moment I write the first page of whatever, and as I go thru the manuscript pillaging and rapin– I mean hacking and slashing and I drop any significant chunks of cut text (even a particularly good sentence will end up in there) into the “Deleted Scenes” document.
Tonight I was organizing the files for Frederica and for M&M, and I realized I really am very inefficient with my writing.
Ok, here’s the stats:
Freddy’s Total Word Count: 100, 196
The Total Word Count from Freddy’s Deleted Scenes file: 60, 271
So, to get a serviceable novel of 100K I had to write 160K words, but that means more than 38% of what I wrote for Freddy ended up in the scrap bin. I wouldn’t be worried, except here are the stats for M&M:
M&M’s Total Word Count: 40,792
The Total Word Count from M&M’s Deleted Scenes file: 13,198
Which means 31% of what I wrote for M&M got scrapped, and I’m not entirely done with the revision process there so that number could go up (it is highly unlikely to go down).
I have a pattern! Alack! Alas!
Part of it is definitely the way I write. I’m a bit of pantser (I write by the seat of my pants, that is). I do a little sketchy plotting before I start, but mostly once I have my characters and some kind of conflict I just dive right in. Which means scenes get written and re-written, plot threads are cut (this happens a LOT. I had more than three TOTALLY different versions for the middle of M&M and Freddy each) and I just generally don’t know what’s happening or where the story’s going until I finish it. Sometimes not even then. ;P
I know everyone creates differently, maybe this is just the creative process of my brain, blah blah, still the high-strung perfectionist in me looks at these files and thinks: There’s got to be a better way.
But then again, writing is hard enough what with my having a life and everything, that maybe I should just cut myself some slack and let myself be wildly inefficient if that’s what I have to do to get to a finished product.
Of course, what makes me saddest, though, are the jokes I cut because I just can’t find a suitable home for them. Here’s a little taste from the deleted scenes folder of Freddy:
Polydegmon shrugged. “We were friends before.” More than friends, he thought. “She trusts me.” About as far as she can throw me. “She did not wish to hurt your feelings. She did not want you to feel as if you are inadequate to meet her needs.” Which you are.
…and I’m still mourning the fact I can’t seem to find a good home for the glue factory joke in M&M. It’s sick, but I really like my glue factory joke. 😦