Saturday, 18 August 2012

Are deleted scenes ever REALLY deleted?

I will admit, I've done my fair share of slathering to read a deleted scene from one of my favourite books or authors. I was among the horde clamouring for the Edward POV excerpt and other deleted scenes Stephenie Meyer posted on her site, and I've signed disclaimers and whatnot to read a smexy scene which has been cut for one reason or another from the final edit of other books. My friend Ruth Ellen Parlour has also posted a couple from her new release, Earth Angel - you can read one of them here. Yep, I'm definitely a fan of the Deleted Scene.

These scenes have obviously not actually been deleted. They're out there in the world. I'm reading them.

Some have sketchy editing or content, and though they have been rescued from the trash, you can see that the intention to delete was legit. But then there are those which have obviously never been en route to the cutting room floor. These are really companion material, meant to be given as freebies to loyal fans or enticements to new readers. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with this. At all. It's good marketing.

But, as a writer, should you set out with the intention of writing Deleted Scenes?

In the case of YA and smexiness, I can absolutely see a point to this. Some content (and I know some will strongly disagree with me here) just shouldn't go into YA. I don't mean all smexiness, obviously - just those bits that go into more detail or length *snigger* than sits comfortably in YA. Again, just my opinion.

Rightly or wrongly, some scenes won't make it into a published novel because of the adult content. And if the author then wants to publish this in some other forum where adults can tick a box and read the scene, that's cool.

So what about other kinds of Deleted Scenes? The alternate endings? The scenes told from another character's POV? These could easily be a part of an author's drafting process, but should writers set out with the intention of having these tasty morsels ready to release at the perfect moment?

It's something I've never done. And if I'm perfectly honest, when scenes are deleted from one of my manuscripts, they're DELETED. There is one exception to this - with an edit I did to HELLFIRE for a R&R I was never entirely happy with. You can read one of those should-I-delete-or-shouldn't-I scenes from the revision here.

I could always retrieve them from an earlier version, of course (I'm a version control freak), but I don't keep Deleted Scenes in separate Word docs to use later. Not even smexiness.

I love that others do this. Getting to read something that only the die-hards who go looking for additional material online will get to read is so much fun. And I'm especially thrilled that I get to unleash one of these scenes into the world on this very blog, by one of my very favourite authors, Misty Provencher. Keep an eye out for that next month... y'know, if you'd like a little extra Garrett and Nalena in your life (and really, you'd be crazy not to!)

So, the planned Deleted Scene: Is this something authors generally do? Am I missing out by not adding in Deleted Scenes to my initial outlines? Do YOU do this?


  1. Thanks for the mention! :)

    I don't throw anything away (I'm like Nalena's Mom only digitally... but not as much BULK) If I know I'm going to heavily alter a chapter I'll save it as a new Doc and keep the old one.

    Earth Angel ended up with quite a few deleted scenes because it was an older novel and the revision needed major changes. I thought fans of the book would enjoy a bit extra material and some writers have enjoyed reading them as a tool to learn why exactly they were cut.

    I would never plan a scene just so it can be deleted. My current WIP has no deleted scenes... for now.

    1. Sounds like you're a little bit of a version-control freak too! And I love that you share your deleted scenes to show WHY they were deleted.

  2. Before Scrivener.... if I decided to cut all or part of a scene when I was working on the first draft, I'd copy and paste it into a new document and save it in a 'scrap' file. I also keep multiple drafts of each WIP, so I can always refer back.

    I never delete anything properly. Even in the final draft of 'Trinity' I found myself going back and checking cut scenes. I probably have about 50,000 words that got cut from 'Trinity' knocking about on my computer!

    1. Ahhh, Scrivener. I've never used it (am scared of new things), so don't know what features it has for clipboarding cut scenes. One day, I will check it out...maybe ;)

  3. If you want to cut a scene completely you just take it out of the compile (a check box), so it stays where it is but doesn't end up in the final version. Or if you're heavily altering a scene you can take a snapshot of it, so you can always go back to it. I've been using the snapshot function quite a bit, especially between drafts so I can always check back on a previous draft!


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