{Working Notes 9} Losing a Scene

I don’t like waste.

I don’t like to throw out things that can be used. But I’m not a hoarder. And I don’t mean that in the “I really am but I’m delusional” sense. I don’t like clutter and my kids like to dance, so room is a must. Not easy when the house is about 700 sq. ft. (And yes, I measured it for my taxes.)

I find ways to get rid of unwanted things. Like donating my kids old clothes to the school. The Nurse is always happy to have the clothes for accidents that happen during the course of the day. Wearing my hubby’s old coats until I start getting money from people thinking I’m homeless (and yes this happened once, I now have a coat just for going to town in), and then the strays or the dog get it for bedding. Ripped clothes that can’t find a home as something else, like rags or kids’ clothes (you’d be surprised at the new life an old shirt gets as a child’s play shirt.)

Even in writing I don’t like waste.

It’s one of the reasons it takes me so long to write. I don’t want to start a scene and realize that I don’t need it half-way through. I don’t like to finish it, realize it won’t work, and chop it. I have a tendency to keep scene I wrote in the manuscript in the hopes I can find a way to use it, only to realize it will never happen. At that point I cut it, and place it in a file with all the other unused snippets.

The idea is to share those deleted scene later. It usually doesn’t happen. Most of the time I can cannibalize it for another scene. Or in the case of Love is Blind and An Angel in Tartarus, a whole short story.

Today was different.

I removed all the scenes from Death’s Lover a few weeks back so it was easier to rearrange them according to my plot outline. At the same time I’m typing out a basic title for each scene and a summary of part of the scene. Like so:

This is what my rough drafts look like. No chapter breaks, I do that later. One continuous story broken only by Heading 1 (bold and black) for the Title and Heading 2 (blue) for a summary/goal/setting of that part of the scene.

I decided to start at the beginning and fill in the scenes that were missing and as I was scrolling through the first part, I realized I was missing something. A whole part of the opening scene. I’m guessing about 1k-3k worth of a scene.

Talk about being sick to my stomach. A part of the story was gone. Of course it was a part I was thinking of cutting for various reasons, but only if I cut a later part. If I kept the later scene then this beginning scene was needed to set it up.

What to do. What to do.

Sadly, I don’t have a backup with this scene in it. I wrote it on a Tuesday and I back everything up Friday, so I must have lost it between that time. Might have to start rethinking that strategy. Or maybe not.

I’m starting to think that I don’t really need it after all. 😀