Please welcome guest author Judith B. Glad to the Cafe.
There is a folder on my computer called “Stuff.” It’s got a lot of files in it, some large, some small. All kept and cherished in case I’ll find a use for them someday.
They are deleted scenes from my books. Boring scenes, exciting scenes, sexy scenes and tender scenes. And every one of them got tossed because they didn’t make the story any better. In fact, mostly they made it worse.
A lot of them were distractions. After all, my readers didn’t really need to know how to sample vegetation (I was a botanist in an earlier life), how to pack a covered wagon for the Oregon Trail (I read a lot of western emigrants’ diaries), or how one gets from Mayfair in London to the Great North Road (although how long it took in a coach-and-four might be relevant). Yet my Stuff folder contains scene that describe all of the above in loving detail. In fact, more than half of the scenes languishing there are of that sort: information that to me at the time seemed fascinating, but really didn’t add anything to the story. Distractions all.
Some were merely digressions. Minor characters can lead the best of us astray. The fellow with the thick Irish brogue is charming, even though he only appears in one scene. The sly maidservant probably would steal the teaspoons if given a chance. Or perhaps that handsome vendor in the food cart will turn out to be a millionaire living out a fantasy. It’s so easy, when introducing an interesting character, to get carried away with description or backstory. Pretty soon the story is wandering off in a new direction and apt to get itself lost. Or worse, to lose the reader.
It’s not just my books either. As an editor, I often suggest a scene be deleted, because it slows the story or takes the reader off on a tangent: distraction or digression. Easy traps to fall into, but also easy to detect, if only one is willing to ask, about every single scene, “Is this scene doing anything to advance my story, enrich my characters, increase tension?”
If the answer is yes, the scene can stay. But if not, well, there’s always the Stuff folder. Just in case it will fit somewhere else, someday.
Just don’t ever throw a deleted scene away entirely. You never know when it’s going to come in handy.
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Welcome to Whiterock, Oregon, where Sally Carruthers nurses her dying father, and dreams of the day she can go back to her real life. Where Gus Loring seeks forgetfulness, but to find it, he’d have to do the impossible and forgive himself.
Whiterock is a town where people are from, because there’s nothing to hold them there. Every year more of the stores on Main Street close, and every year more of its young people leave to find their fortunes somewhere else. Where what you see today may be different tomorrow.
Maybe that’s why the town persists. Because there is more to Whiterock than its 639 residents, the elk statue by the park, and the Bite-A-Wee Café. More to it than a place where Gus and Sally find temporary passion together.
Whiterock is more than just a town. A lot more…
Improbable Solution (ISBN 978-1-60174-190-5), published by Uncial Press
Buy links: http://www.uncialpress.com/
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Judith B. Glad was one of those fortunate children to be raised by someone who believed in magic. A great aunt, with whom she spent much of her childhood, filled her imagination with stories of adventure and derring-do and magic, never letting her know which was fact and which was fiction. Is it any wonder she grew up wanting to create worlds in which the good guys–male and female–always win, where right always prevails, and where love is the most important force in the universe?
Sidetracked by reality, Judith started a family, followed a couple of careers, went back to school and ended up as a botanical consultant. Eventually, the kids all left the nest and she cut back on the consulting, leaving her with time to work on creating those worlds. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where flowers bloom every month of the year and snow usually stays on the mountains where it belongs. It’s a great place to write, because the rainy season lasts for eight months–a perfect excuse to stay indoors and tell stories.
Judith’s website: http://www.judithbglad.com/