Cutting Room Floor

I’m a writer (well, duh, you say) which means that every single word I put on a page is my baby. Every. Single. I birthed those words and sometimes, a lot of times, it hurt! But not every word makes the final cut. A lot of them–a LOT–have to go. Either because they slowed the pace down, the scene changed or it was out of character. But I can’t simply hit the delete button on those babies. Good or bad, they’re my words. So I keep them, and for every book I write I create a folder called “Cutting Room Floor.Insert name of book”. That folder stays with me because sometimes, not often, but sometimes I’ll use those words again.

They’re good words, sometimes really well written paragraphs that make me want to cry when I can’t use them. So I decided to make a use for them. Each week (I’m thinking of Wednesdays, but we’ll see how it works), I’m going to post something that made it to the cutting room floor. And I’m going to encourage other writers to post their cutting room floor snippets (because most of us simply can’t let loose those babies).

Today’s cutting room floor comes from my newest release, Her Dark Knight (where I have a whopping 85 pages of cut scenes):

“Are you certain of this?”

She hesitated before nodding and he took satisfaction in the small hesitation. It gave him hope. It seemed lately it was the only thing he could keep hold of—his hope.

“You will call if you need me?”

“Your number is programmed into my phone.” Her whiskey-colored eyes were huge and moist with perpetual unshed tears.

“I hate to leave you here alone,” he admitted, but stopped before he begged her to return with him.

“I’ll be fine.” She stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek. A sisterly, affectionate kiss that seared his skin where her lips had touched and left him wanting more.

“I’ll be fine.” She stepped back.

His cue to leave. He moved toward the door, hesitated, then walked through, closing it firmly behind him. For long moments he stood in the hall, listening to her move about. He even placed his hand on the door, but felt only cold wood.

We’re very much strangers, she had said and Christien had to fight to keep his breathing even, to keep her from seeing how much her words had hurt. Yes, to her they were strangers.

But to him, she was everything.

 

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12 thoughts on “Cutting Room Floor

  1. Love the idea Sharon…I have a folder with sentences, scenes and such that I’ve cut too…and hope to someday maybe slip into another work…but so far I haven’t 😦

    I’d play along, but I actually left my flash drive in my car, which is with my son. LOL All my deleted scenes are traveling around with him today 🙂

  2. LOL. Yes, I cut that scene. And many, many more. I usually end up with close to a hundred pages of cut stuff for each book. Some are very, very crappy and some are heartbreaking to leave out.

  3. Oh, I love that last line, Sharon! I, too, save my deleted scenes in a separate folder, although I like the title of yours much better, lol! I have gone back and re-inserted scenes I thought crap. Wonderful post!

  4. Great scene.

    Like Jerri, I usually delete right away. Here’s one from Branded:

    ~*~
    Somehow Tamson had beat them back to the cabin and he sat at the sipping a cup of coffee. When they came in, he grinned. “Took you long enough.”
    “Where’s the dynamite?” Cedric asked.
    “Back where it belongs, safe and sound.”
    “Locked up?”
    Tamson nodded and lifted another spoonful of stew to his mouth. “Yep.”
    Aspen laughed out loud. “Can you see their faces when they figure it out?”
    He slapped his knee. “Better yet, wish I could watch them walk home in cowboy boots.”
    Both Cord and Cedric grinned at that one.
    “I hope those horses run all the way home,” Aspen said. “They had no intention of feeding those horses tonight. Those two brutes deserve to be punished severely for their crimes. Not only against all of us, but for animal abuse as well.” Once they reached the safety of the cabin, Cord and Tamson had immediately unsaddled and fed the horses and mules.
    Cord’s smile vanished and he seemed to withdraw into himself. He turned toward the stove and held his hands over it.
    “Is everyone hungry?” Cedric asked abruptly. “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I could eat a bear naked.”
    “Starving,” Aspen said. “Do you have enough?”
    “We have plenty,” he said. “Sit, sit. Cord? You hungry?”
    He turned from the stove with an unreadable expression. “Sure.”
    “Then pull up a chair and dig in.” Cedric retrieved dishes from the cupboard and flatware from a drawer. He placed the big pot of stew on the table, then grabbed a bottle from the top shelf. “Anyone care for a sip of Irish sippin’ whiskey? We won’t hold it against anyone that it’s Irish tonight.”
    No one turned him down, and he filled their coffee mugs with the liquor. Aspen took a sip and tears immediately came to her eyes. She coughed. “Good.”
    Tamson pounded her on the back until she thought he’d break her spine. “There, there, missy. Go slow.”
    She nodded and tasted the stew. Delicious. Savory. She’d never eaten anything so good. For a few minutes they all ate in silence until Cedric said, “Whose keeping watch tonight? I wouldn’t put it past those two maniacs to come back to cause more mischief.”
    “I’ll take the first watch,” Cord said.
    They were staying here? Aspen hadn’t realized they were going to spend the night, although she supposed it made sense. Dark had fallen hours ago, and the horses had to be tired, because now with her own stomach full and her body pleasantly relaxed from the alcohol, she realized she was exhausted.
    “No,” Cedric said. “You have to be worn out. I loafed all afternoon. You two get some rest. When I get tired, I’ll wake you.”
    Tamson nodded in agreement. “I’ll watch out back for a bit, too. Miss, you take my bed.” He pointed to the top bunk along the wall. “That one’s mine. Cord, take Cedric’s.”
    Aspen met Cord’s eyes. For the longest moment she wished they were going to share that bed. Her mouth went dry. “Okay.”

  5. Isn’t it funny how we can delete these scenes but can’t really DELETE them. LOL I’ve actually printed all mine out and put them in a folder, which is probably a book all by itself…

    Nice post!

  6. Interesting idea. I love it. I tend to edit as I got (deleting and not saving) and when my editor asks me to cut something (not often) I weep and wail and gnash my teeth then cut it. bye bye. I do tend to write sentences or descriptions on pieces of paper and those I keep in a folder and they often end up in a book or story.

  7. I always copy my cuts into a document called “discards.” I like yours much better. LOL

    It’s amazing how often I cut a scene or section of a scene because it doesn’t fit, and then later copy a paragraph or more back into the manuscript at another point. Once, I actually cut something way early in the writing of the book. After revision upon revision, I sold the book and the editor wanted me to add something—and the scene was already written! 🙂 Validation, I tell ya. 🙂

    Here’s a bit from Behind the Scenes, the romantic adventure that came out in October. It’s from Rogan’s point of view, thinking about Kennedy:

    An apology would erase the insult, he knew, but it would take more to crack her shell. He thought he knew how. By giving her things she hadn’t gotten before. Attention. Admiration. Care.

  8. I love this idea! I cut, but I always save. Here’s a paragraph from a romance novel that I wrote when I was feeling hostile about something. When I read it later, I thought, yeah, not in a romance novel. A murder mystery, maybe.

    She felt a spurt of annoyance. Advice was easy, and how like a man to offer it. Men always thought they had the solution, when usually they were the source of the problem. Look at her. She’d had a man once. She’d married him. And thanks to him, she had three kids, a broken down house, and a job she didn’t like. Well, most of the time she wouldn’t give her kids back and she’d had the boring job while she still had John and the house was mostly okay. But still. Here was another man, telling her how to fix her life. Like she needed that.

  9. This is a great idea…The Blog…. I think most authors have folders of cut scenes. My first four books I rewrote and rewrote and rewrote again. I was actaully shocked that with my last book (my 5th) I only cut three scenes—I didn’t bother to save any of them because I knew I’d never use them.

    Here’s a scene out of A Hunter’s Angel that I cut when I cut the villian’s and Brad Morris’s POVs out of the book. This one is probably my favorite and really defined Brad’s personality for me, which I carry over into his book (A Hunter’s Blade). I plan to put them together as a free read on my website after it’s released and before book two (which is the book I just finished) is released.

    ~~~~
    Brad sidled up to the bar of the Railroad Station and slid onto a stool. The barkeeper sat the bottle of Yuengling he’d ordered before him, and Brad took a long pull on the beer.

    The band was still playing on stage, and the slow country songs fit his mood perfectly. Above the bar, a flat screen TV played sports highlights from the day in closed caption.

    “Things not workout with the redhead?” Brad scowled at the man sitting beside him. The guy smiled and jerked his head toward the barroom behind them. “I saw you in here earlier with the police chief.”

    Brad returned his gaze to his beer. After he took another long drink, he said, “It was business.”

    “Wouldn’t mind that kind of business myself. Grace Wallace is hot. Always has been,” the annoying local said, and a needle of disappointment pricked his heart.

    Yeah, she’s hot, just not for me.

    The last thing Brad wanted to think about was what could have been. Ignoring the weirdo, he looked up at the TV and focused on the latest basketball scores.

    “Terrible thing that happened to that boy over in Engle.”

    “Yeah.” Brad lifted his beer to drink again.

    “I hope the cops get whoever it is doin’ the killin’ soon,” the guy said at his side.

    Great. Brad hated when people struck up conversations with him—unless, of course, they were female. However, he was so uptight over Grace’s rejection; anyone would annoy the hell out of him right now. Never in his life had he fallen so hard and so fast for a woman, especially one who was so completely not interested in him. He was happy for Ian if he could make it work with Grace. His buddy deserved a good woman. Brad just wished he wasn’t interested in the same woman.

    “Look—I…”

    “You’re one of the FBI agents, aren’t you? Must take a very special person to get inside the minds of crazy mass murderers like you do.”

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