Swoon Author Jenn P. Nguyen: To Waste or Not to Waste
A couple of years ago, I went through a health kick phase. I signed up for a gym membership (and actually went)! I also bought a huge sack of carrots at Costco and made my own carrot juice among other things. It was actually pretty good and made me feel awesome. Until I was left with a pile of freshly dried and ground up carrot pulp and nothing to do with it. I hated throwing stuff out. So I made carrot cakes and muffins until the end of time. But it felt good not to let it go to waste. Plus it was super yummy.
This is how I felt when I tackled editing. As much as I loved fixing and polishing my story, it still hurt when I had to kill off a character or even cut out a scene. After all, I worked hard to write this. Sweated, cried, and bled for these words. And now I had to take it out and toss it? Oh, the horror!
But then I soon learned that whatever I cut could always be recycled and reused somewhere else. Characters, scenes, etc. For example, the beach scene in the middle of The Way to Game the Walk of Shame was completely different then the final version. (SPOILER ALERT) In an old version, Taylor actually decided to try the joint that Lauren gave her and got high while Evan took care of her. But after talking to Holly and Lauren and getting their awesome insight, we realized that Taylor would never give into Lauren’s pressure. So we cut that scene and made it more of a fun date for Taylor and Evan. But I did use some lines and phrases from that scene for Taylor’s bonus party scene at the end of the book. And it worked out perfectly!
Not to mention, you could keep the deleted scenes as a bonus feature or research for the character’s background. I have a secret deleted epilogue for The Way to Game the Walk of Shame that I’m hoping to release to the world someday soon.
Either way, anything you do is never a waste. So you can moan and mourn your hard work, but after a while you just have to suck it up and get to work. Because it will be worth it in the end. Trust me.