Friday, July 16, 2021

Cutting Scenes - Yea or Nay? By Connie Vines #RR

Marci Baun Round Robin topic for July 2021: “Deleting scenes: Do you ever delete scenes? When and why do you delete them? And what do you do with them? Do you save them? Or just toss them?”

Sometimes, the scenes I delete are simply that, scenes. Other times I rub out a whole character.

I do not know about other writers, but when I write novels, I delete as much as I write. Sometimes I delete more.

The problem is some of these deleted scenes are great. I like them, anyway.

But there are other scenes I delete because the story turns in a direction different from that in which it was going.  Or I have written my character into a hole, realized something cannot happen. Or you write a scene that happened way too early for the book.  

Or characters have unfocused conversations. Conversations should have a purpose.  Babbling is not allowed. 

I do keep deleted scenes.

Some writers have massive OneNote file with pages and pages of deleted scenes. Others keep paper copies. I have a file with subfiles: Romance, YA, Historical, etc. (seems organized, doesn’t it?). It is. However, I save it multiple places: on my desktop, in the Cloud, in my one Drive. My tech guy asked if he would like him to organize it. 

Remember my statement about babbling? Well… “We” decided ‘saving it everywhere’ would work for now.

Sometimes you will find that two or more characters fulfill a remarkably similar role in the story, and your reader ends up struggling to tell them apart.

If that is the case: consider consolidating multiple similar characters into one.

It will give you more room to make the resulting single character more memorable and compelling and will help remove some excess fluff as you try to juggle including two or more characters and their backstories.

Sometimes my scenes are really snippets to be placed in my next book, or the start of a new series.

Be sure to visit other members of our Round Robin Group where stories unfold and lead to a new adventure.

Happy Reading,

Connie Vines

Anne Stenhouse

Dr. Bob Rich

Skye Taylor

Connie Vines

Marci Baun

Victoria Chatham

Beverley Bateman

Fiona McGier

Helena Fairfax

Rhobin L Courtright


  1. Hi Connie, Yep, I recognise that 'some characters are too similar' matter. Why two best friends when one could do it all? Love your blanket approach to storing the deletions. anne

  2. Like you, I store deleted scenes for possible use elsewhere. But I so far have never deleted a character. But he or she would end up in the same file if I did. As you point out, the character might not be needed here, but would be perfect in a different book.

  3. And my response was eaten. (sigh)

    I agree creating characters with distinct personalities is challenging, especially when they are supporting cast who may never get their own story. If they don't mean that much to the protagonist, why expend a lot of energy into them. It does irritate me when authors do that. I don't mind some, but, if they do, there better be a reason for it.

    As for deleting scenes, I save most of mine because it's the only way I can convince myself to delete the words, especially when they are hard-earned. Essentially, I have to trick myself into cutting them, even if in the back of my mind I know I will never use them. LOL

    If this tries to post multiple times, it's because I'm having issues with Blogger allowing me to post.

  4. I've never had excess characters in a book--they always have some kind of purpose. Usually that involves being the heroine/hero in a subsequent book. That's how I've ended up creating so many series'! And I don't save info on my lsptop--only on tiny scraps of paper tossed casually all over my desk. I truly believe messiness is a sign of creativity!

  5. I enjoyed your post, Connie, especially the comment about two characters being too much the same Good point.

  6. Wow! Keeping even unused scenes in several different places is interesting. I've lost information from computers dying and having no way to retrieve any information.

  7. Thank you for this. I think your strongest point is that everything in the story should have a purpose: an entire character, a scene, a conversation...


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