by K. Trian
Lately T and I have been incredibly occupied with the revisions for Solus. Based on the feedback we’ve received, we realized there are certain events that have taken place outside the story that we need to know better than just on some vague, approximate thought level in order to make the actual scenes even better. Like pretty much every writer out there, we too adhere to the iceberg analogy; the writer knows more about the story and characters than the reader ever will, thus only presenting the tip of the iceberg to their audience. However, there were certain scenes we never wrote, just knew of their existence, and thought we were ok not knowing what exactly went down — until we realized that there’d be no harm in it if we actually made those scenes more “real.” It felt like having those events just talked out and planned was not enough. The events felt disjointed and murky, and they kept changing shape. Imagine being hung over and thinking back your night out, how the memories are all fuzzy and vague. The scenes had to be actualized and made real, and once we did that, things were instantly much clearer.
Of course it’d be pretty damn crazy to write out your every character’s history, every thought and dialogue they’ve ever had, but certain key events that are referred to within the story can turn out to be not only clarifying, but fun writing exercises as well. We’ve heard writing gurus say “write the story, not the backstory,” but that’s not the point either. All these little scenes that you know will never be in the finished manuscript somehow make the finished product feel more coherent. Now we know exactly what happened, the exact words that were said, the motions and emotions, and it has also deepened our understanding of the characters and their motivations.
So, fellow writers out there, have you written scenes that you know will never make it, but you do it anyway, just to get a better idea of what happened in the characters’ past, or for some other reason? Or is it really just a waste of time?