I just cut 15,874 words

This leaves me with 57,166 words in Midnight Rain, out of a planned 100,000, as I get started today. More than halfway done, but no longer closing on 75% done.

The pages — stuff I had written earlier and that I hoped to be able to save, turned out to be unsalvageable. They usually do — anything that is off-target enough to make you go back a couple of chapters and start inserting things is usually not going to survive to the end.

But you always hope, you know? There was good stuff in there. It just wasn’t good stuff for this book. And I can’t tell myself I’ll use it later; I won’t. I’ve only gone back once in ten years and pulled stuff out of previously written material — and that was the first chapter of the second draft of what became The Wreck of Heaven, inserted whole-cloth into the middle of the second draft of the third version of the book, so that I could accelerate the Pete storyline a bit. More than twenty books. One time.

I could just dump it now, but I won’t do that either. Because there’s this part of me that wants to say — “You’ll find a use for it.” So it’ll clutter my hard drive for a few years, and then I’ll lose track of it, and eventually I’ll end up deleting it to clear out the clutter.

It’s like leftovers in the fridge — sometimes you don’t eat them, and you know your aren’t going to eat them … but you don’t throw them away until you can see mold.

I’m waiting for word mold.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

2 comments… add one
  • Robert A. Sloan Jul 26, 2002 @ 17:46

    Word Mold – it’s not. I save every scrap of those things, because they really don’t go moldy. What I do with them might be so completely different from the original intent that it’s unrecognizable; an ex-main plot becomes a subplot, the whole thing backstory for something else, or a random erotic bit quoted as the native erotica of the setting even though it was out of character for the characters!

    But it’s not waste, it’s just neat stuff. The more of it I have around, the more little mosaic pieces I have for later stuff.

    Then again, I’m a packrat. Text doesn’t take much space in the hard drive and the bigger the compost heap is, the more likely I’ll find something good in it when I’m bored.

    Robert and Ari >^..^<

  • David Stone Jul 20, 2002 @ 12:10

    You should print them out and put them in a chest in the attic. Then, in fifty years time, they’ll be rediscovered and awake a surge of interest in your books…

    David.

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