I don’t just have deleted scenes. I have deleted books.
I kid you not. Downcast went through three drafts, and there is almost 50k words that didn’t make it into the final version. Thunderstruck (the sequel) is on its third draft and is being completely re-envisioned as we speak (or I type).
Why? WHYYYY????? Why do I do this to myself? I mean, the obvious answer is that I am a perfectionist. I am unwilling to compromise when I know what I’m capable of and what the story should be. That’s why it takes me so damn long to produce a book.
Part of the reason behind my deleted scenes is that I value the reader and feel deeply that since they are giving me their most precious commodity – TIME – to read my work, I want them to feel that I am giving them the absolute BEST I can give them.
So, if a scene isn’t working, it’s chopping block time. If an entire 40,000 words aren’t working, it’s chopping block time. Even scenes that I love. Even scenes that are awesome (regardless of whether I love them or not). There’s a moment of exquisite agony when I look at my word count (usually around the 35,000 mark), sigh, and surrender it to the gods in a holy ecstasy of sacrifice.
For example, in Downcast, there’s a whole sequence where I actually go into the Homecoming football game and Homecoming dance. There’s even a pep rally scene. And that was the second draft. The original draft had the whole thing winding up in a giant Carrie-esque showdown at a Winter dance because it was tied to another set of deleted scenes that had a prophesy of Stephanie dancing three times with death.
I don’t remember why I cut all that out. It probably has to do with the four billion versions of the timeline I had to do in order to get everything happening as it should.
However, I see my deleted scenes as a marketing opportunity. I am putting together all the deleted scenes from Downcast into a mini-book, a “director’s cut” if you will. It’s the free gift you get for signing up for my newsletter, which will be launching next month (coinciding with the release of the audiobook of Downcast – yeah, I’ve been busy).
So, check out all my deleted darlings by signing up at my website! The newsletter signup is on the righthand side of the page, and I promise, it’ll only be once a month and have interesting stuff in it. Or at least funny stuff. And Denny pictures. That makes it totally worth it, right? RIGHT????