Tuesday, July 17, 2012
The Horror of Deleted Scenes
A couple of weeks ago, I did a guest post at the wonderful blog, Words At Home, which consisted of a deleted scene from Where It Began.
Due to the fact that I write in random order without an outline, I have many, many such deleted scenes from which to choose -- some deleted as a result of brief interludes of good judgment and others deleted as a result of the strongest possible suggestions my agent could muster without being undiplomatic or making me listen while she banged her head on her desk.
Anyway, I really did love this scene. It tied up some loose ends and it had an element of characters from different social groups singing "Kumbaya" and, coincidentally, not getting drunk during school lunch. I fought for this scene. I bitched and moaned and mourned while cutting this scene.
And now that it’s back, I’m in a state of Oh My God. Never mind that it actually contains grammatical errors and clunky repetition, but there’s a slight chance that it’s cheesy. Oh My God. Is this cognitive dissonance, I wonder? Do I have to think it’s cheesy because otherwise, noting its wonderfulness and the fact that it’s no longer in my book, I’d be too sad and miserable to go on? Or would a propensity for cognitive dissonance have more sinister implications for how I feel about what I left in the book…?
Self-doubt, recrimination, and hyperventilation probably being worse for branding than the dispensing of Really Bad Writing Advice, I read back through Where It Began in a state of perfect calm detachment, at the end of which I concluded that I still love it a lot.
I am, on the other hand, so glad that I saw reason and deleted what I deleted. And four months post-publication, I am ready to concede that Where It Began would not, in fact, have been all that much better at 986 pages.