Friday, October 9, 2009

Sometimes We Need to Cut

Yesterday several sweet people decided to follow my blog and now I have more than 50 blog supporters! Yay! I am so happy to know you all. Thank you for your excellent comments and support during my first month of real blogging.


This is my dog:




He is a Britany Spanial/Border Collie Mix and we adopted him a year ago. We love him. He's excellent with kids, he has awesome frisbee catching abilities, he hardly ever barks or chews. He is almost the perfect dog... except, he sheds like crazy.










Our solution to this one thing keeping our dog from perfection is to shave him several times a year (who am I kidding, there are a few more things that keep him from being perfect--like his love of eating diapers--but we work with what we can.) He looks like a rat, instead of a cute furry dog, but he doesn't cover the house and our clothing in long white and rusty-colored hairs.




I love the way my dog looks with all his hair, but he is a better fit for our family without it.

Likewise, sometimes I love a scene in my story, but I know the story as a whole will be stronger without it. It might feel a little naked when I take the scene out, but it will be better in the long run.

I've rewritten the end of Underground many times. One of my endings featured a scene with police dogs. It was a pretty good scene--dramatic and also a little funny--but it didn't fit with the story as a whole, so I canned it and wrote another ending (and another and another) until I finally had one that was right for the story.

Do you have a scene you loved that you had to cut? That you should cut but haven't yet?

27 comments:

MeganRebekah said...

Unfortunately, the majority of my scenes have been cut and trashed. Some I loved, some were undeniably bad. Sometimes a bit of both!

And I love your dog! If you didn't live so far away, we'd have to get our dogs together for a playdate :)

Diane said...

Adorable pictures! Have a great weekend. :O)

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Your pooch is cute, even when nude.

Do I trim my stories--sure do, it's not always easy to trim a whole scene, but if it isn't working for the good of the story, I do slash it. I keep hoping someday though that I'll find the perfect story for that scene again.

Kristi Faith said...

awww the naked dog isn't so bad! :) Congrats on reaching more than 50 followers-you help us other bloggers out too-I think I've had a few people stop by mine by way of yours. Great, isn't it?

I have cut lots and lots of scenes that I absolutely adored. Even scenes that I adored so much, I cut it from the one story-but saved it in another document, just because. :)

And funny you should ask-I've been debating with myself if the first chapter of my book is starting too early for the story...sigh...it's so hard to decide.

MattDel said...

A member of my crit group loves saying "kill your pretties" as the rationale for needing to cut things. That said, I have to answer with an emphatic YES that I do cut scenes when they're not working. If a beautiful scene doesn't work in that story, then it has to go. I don't care how well written it is or how solidly I tuned into the emotions. It's out.

Kristi --

It's funny you mention the first chapter starting too early for your story. I scrapped a revision because I felt the novel was starting too late for the story.

Linda Kage said...

Congrats on 50 followers. Amazing. And, yeah, I've cut some scenes I didn't want to. It hurts at first, but later on--if it's better without--I don't even miss it.

Jody Hedlund said...

Oh, what a cute little doggie! And I love your analogy! I think I'll be dealing with this very cutting aspect in the next week or so. I should be getting the rewrites back on my book from my editor!! Yikes!

Georgina said...

If I trim something from a piece I'm working on I paste it onto a blank document - hoping that perhaps it might inspire another beginning or be useful somewhere else. (And I am delighted to be one of your new followers!) - G

Tamika: said...

Some days I trim until the chapter is bare! Most of those times, I really love the scenes that I am working on, but I can't afford too much fat.

Great post!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Too cute!

Yes. I seem to end up cutting a lot. I think if we're really honest with ourselves, it's not too hard to see what needs to go.

Heather Sunseri said...

I'm getting to cut and rewrite, myself. Not looking forward to it in some ways, but in other ways, I know it will make my story stronger.

Love your dog! I just love dogs.

L. T. Host said...

I let it all flow out in the first draft and then snip snip later on. I can't afford to be emotional about it, it's what's best for my book.

This rationale may be easy for me to ascribe too though because I used to be a dog groomer, and to continue your analogy, it's the same logic there. Shaving may be better for all parties involved even though I've seen how painful it can be for the owners to look at their dogs afterward. They always appreciate it in the end :)

PS- Your dog doesn't look half as silly "naked" as some of the ones I've seen. Imagine a chow, naked except for a lion's mane and a puff on their tail.

Jill Kemerer said...

What a cute, cute dog! I love animals.

I'm not married to any of my scenes. I'm always looking at the big picture and have no problem cutting!

Have a great weekend!

Bane of Anubis said...

I have a sorely difficult time cutting scenes. I can cut snippets, but an entire scene... not so much... Though I'll definitely rewrite as needed.

Susan R. Mills said...

More than I count. I've saved them in another file, though. I'm hoping they (or versions of them) will be useful in a different manuscript. Your dog is adorable.

Patti said...

Your dog looks like its shivering, but it's still cute.

I've cut my share of beloved scenes. In fact I cut a whole chapter that I absolutely adore, but doesn't work for the story.

staceyjwarner said...

Cute dog, I almost edit too much...if I have to cut something I love for the piece as a whole I save it like Susan does...

much love

Dawn VanderMeer said...

Congrats on the followers!

Yes, I've had to kill darlings too. Sometimes it takes time to realize they're dead weight. (Gosh, I sound kind of violent, having "killing" and "dead" in back-to-back sentences. Yeesh.) I really liked your analogy--and your dog is adorable!

Amy Tate said...

Oh yeah...sigh. It's hard to let go of those favorites isn't it? Your dog is adorable!

Erica said...

Such a cute doggie! My puppy is almost 1 year old, and she's a chewer... You have a great dog there. I have no idea why they like to "eat diapers" but I think I can guess...LOL

Oh for sure there are scenes I should cut. I'm doing a major re-write right now, and a lot will go. I'm okay with that though. The really good ones...

I do what Susan does, keep them in another folder. Never know when you may need it back!

Ms. Bookish said...

Your dog is so cute! And yes, I'll cut out whole scenes, but I save everything I cut in a separate file, just in case!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Yes, I do. It's called the sequel. LOL.
I love your dog! One of my dogs is a lab/border collie mix so I feel your pain on the shedding, but my little girl is too persnickety to be shaved. I might need to read that dog ending. Sounds fun!

Jessie Oliveros said...

We used to have a white Himalayan cat, long white fur, and my mom would shave him. That was scary. Right now my first draft is growing, so it doesn't want to think about me cutting it...yet. Love the dog picture.

B.J. Anderson said...

What an adorable dog! And oh, yes. I always hate cutting a scene, but when I look back, I always feel better about it. So it's good.

Anita Saxena said...

Cute doggie!
I used to have difficulty cutting scenes. But I found a way to make it easy. When I cut a scene I copy and paste it in a word document called "cut scenes." To this day I've never read or even considering using anything from the "cut scene" doc. But, it's nice to know that they are there.

jkinkade said...

During the six years it took me to write this one, oh yes, I made some cuts. I don't even remember half of them. I find it harder to cut characters who I've grown to love. Haven't had to do that yet, though. To me, the story as a whole is what matters, and if something needs to go to make it better, I'm all for it.

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Congrats on the fifty followers. And the second pic of your pooch made me laugh. He's looking at the camera like, "Oh! You caught me naked."

And yes, there are definitely scenes that I love that I know don't need to be there. It's so darn hard to do.