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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a kind of writers-craft post, so yeah.

Okay, so I have this side project I've been working on for a while, called Dreaming of Dragons. As a long time D&D fan, Salvatore fan, Dalglish fan, etc, I decided to write a story about a kobold.

I'd gotten about 30,000 words into it and I was pretty happy with it so far, but it just seemed that while everyone I showed it to enjoyed it, it didn't really grab them. It wasn't like... bad, it was just not great. I liked it though and didn't quite understand why. I attributed the fact that it wasn't really resonating too well with the setting. D&D-esque and all. It will fit better when it's done, and presented to its target market, or so I thought.

But after some discussion with Shane, who wrote the amazing Orc of Many Questions, I realised I'd committed a serious faux-pas. Probably the worst in storytelling.

It was boring and the first part it gave the reader no reason to read on.

I was writing the beginning parts because I wanted to get to the exciting parts, but then I realised that this is really bloody stupid. Everything should be an exciting part!

So I came up with a new hook today with Shane's help, and then I deleted every single thing I'd written to date. There's some good stuff in there. We both agreed. Funny lines, awesome lines, lines that I really want to keep if I can (like the bit where they, ever so casually, don human-skin leather armour). I started writing the new hook today and it's much, much more engaging.

If I want to use this stuff I can put it in a prequel book, where readers who care about this character can find out, but yeah. Right now, without knowing Ren and without having some reason to read on, I can see why it wasn't resonating.

It sucks to have deleted half a novel's worth of work, words that I really liked and wish I could use somewhere, but hey. This is what I get for being bad. :D

What's the most everyone's deleted?
 

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I don't delete. I'm a bit of a hoarder like that. But I have 60k plus words which need to be. I wrote it in about two weeks. After finishing, I went back to reread it and realized - I don't care about her. I got distracted reading my own work. Did it right - started with action - but I just didn't care what happened. That's my biggest writing flop.
 

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For what it's worth: I keep a second file open next to the WIP, labeled "Castaways".  

Any time I realize something I've written isn't quite right for the story, I dump it in that purgatory in hopes I can use it elsewhere at another time.  

That eases the sting a little bit.
 

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Danielle Kazemi said:
I don't delete. I'm a bit of a hoarder like that.
I'm the same way, I'm big on versioning because ya never know. That subplot that got cut from one book, might make sense for the next.

btw, that's the most I've cut. Had an entire subplot running through a book, but then realized at the end that it got left hanging and would've probably required another 50 pages to fully flesh it out. Since it wasn't really core to the main plot, I chopped it.
 

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Good for you, David!  :D  

Always begin your book at the beginning. But the beginning isn't always where we think it is. Too often writers think the beginning is a good 3 chapters or so (or more!) before it actually is.

I've completed five full-length novels and numerous short stories and I still have a tendency to write about 3 chapters worth of fluff as part of my "warming up period". I write it, and then dump it. It's all part of the process.

That being said, I keep all the deleted stuff in a file to recycle. Sometimes I recycle an entire scene. Sometimes just a line or two. But you never know.
 

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I'm a packrat, I keep everything i write.  I never know when I might need it again.
 

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15 chapters. But I never actually delete anything, I have this Bin folder for them and it wasn't all waste, when I started anew I used some of the scenes or part of the scenes, just had to tweaked them a lot.
 

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Like others, I tend to keep the discarded parts around...just in case.

That said, I rewrote one novel in its entirety three times over. Several of the characters carried over from version to version, and many of the concepts from the first version exist in the fourth. The plot changed a lot each time, though. It was fifteen years of work (off and on)...and...yeah, I'm leaving it alone now. 215,000 words later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm keeping it in a folder in Scrivener, but yes. Cheryl from Inkslinger will be very happy with the changes. Me, tears of blood.

Tears of blood.
 

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The entire close my short story book -- about 15k words.  I wanted something different to seal the deal, so I just deleted the entire thing.  It was, in all honesty, too close to my next novel ... and I wanted to strive for independence.  So away it went.
 

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I did the same thing at the start of January, I threw away 20K worth of words on a story. I realised my pacing was totally off and by that time I had gotten more used to the characters and I needed to re-do some of the earlier parts with my new knowledge.

I only have 1 chapter now (1300 words) because right after I deleted it I went back to my uni house and classes started again and I just spend a couple of days preparing for my upcoming release.

On the one hand I'm sad that I had to cut them, on the other hand, the new pacing is 100% better.
 

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Chucked my first novel. That was 80k+. My second, which is currently on the back burner has 110k written, of which about 30K will make it to the final product because I started the thing too early and had too many characters. My current WIP has had 50k already discarded, and I've got the thing whittled down to 160k with another 40k-ish to go.
 

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I threw a whole manuscript in the trash... after an agent called.

In the mid-1990s I volunteered for Mother Teresa's order for four years (I lived with/worked for them for two years and drove in from outside the other two years). I met sisters from all over the world and met and talked with Mother Teresa several times. After the first year, the sisters got to know me and would tell me amazing stories, from their war-torn homelands to experiences they'd gone through helping the poor. Visiting priests told me stories at the lunch table. Some of the stories were moving and some were hilarious. I even had firsthand stories about jokes people played on Mother Teresa.

I started to write the stories down and came up with almost 100 the year Mother Teresa died (1997). Then I sent the manuscript to a literary agent, who called the same day she received it (that will never happen again). I had a stroke of conscience and threw the whole thing away. I'd been a guest in their house and had written the stories down without their knowledge and permission, so I knew it would be wrong to sell them. I wish I'd kept them as a private journal, though. It would have been a great keepsake.
 

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I've cut whole scenes, but never 30k of novel! I hope the new book is better for the sacrifice, like those rare mushrooms that pop up after a forest fire. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Dalya said:
I've cut whole scenes, but never 30k of novel! I hope the new book is better for the sacrifice, like those rare mushrooms that pop up after a forest fire. :)
Hah, I hope so.

The original wasn't bad and would make a great origin story, when people care about the character and stuff, but... yeah. Act I just had to go.
 

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I'm glad you kept a copy in your Scrivener file. One of the things I love about Scriv is how easy it is to take snapshots or stuff odds and ends into files in the Research section. Hope your book turns to pure awesome now.
 

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HAGrant said:
I threw a whole manuscript in the trash... after an agent called.

In the mid-1990s I volunteered for Mother Teresa's order for four years (I lived with/worked for them for two years and drove in from outside the other two years). I met sisters from all over the world and met and talked with Mother Teresa several times. After the first year, the sisters got to know me and would tell me amazing stories, from their war-torn homelands to experiences they'd gone through helping the poor. Visiting priests told me stories at the lunch table. Some of the stories were moving and some were hilarious. I even had firsthand stories about jokes people played on Mother Teresa.

I started to write the stories down and came up with almost 100 the year Mother Teresa died (1997). Then I sent the manuscript to a literary agent, who called the same day she received it (that will never happen again). I had a stroke of conscience and threw the whole thing away. I'd been a guest in their house and had written the stories down without their knowledge and permission, so I knew it would be wrong to sell them. I wish I'd kept them as a private journal, though. It would have been a great keepsake.
Noooo! See this I would have loved to read! I can see why you did it though but man, I bet those were some great stories.
 

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Oh, I've definitely chucked entire books before. I thought you meant the most you cut out of a book you intend to actually do something with.

My first ever manuscript (all 80K+ words of it) will NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY. It got me a lot of requests for the full from agents (although it was my next manuscript that got me my former agent) and I actually won a contest with it (the Jasmine Award), but all it;s good for now is stealing lines to use in new projects.
 
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