Writing Scenes That Will Never Make It

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?

-K

 

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5 thoughts on “Writing Scenes That Will Never Make It

  1. The better you understand the history, the better you can write their actions, exactly. Being invested in them will also make the reader feel how real the character is in the book. I’m already attached to Amelie … I can’t wait to read more!

    • It’s weird how we never used to intentionally write scenes that would not be in the story. It feels like such an obvious thing to do, come to think of it.

      We’ve been revising Solus like crazy lately. We’ve been stuck on Parts 1-8 and wrote an entirely new ending (this version of Solus ends in “The Warning” -part), as we decided to split the manuscript in half. Now the first volume is a little over 100k, which is digestable. Now we’re gonna move onto the stuff we got stuck the last time, so hopefully we’ll have more to send you soon (we want to get both volumes done before moving onto other stuff). Thanks so much for reading it. Also, feel free to send us something of yours to be beta-read!

      Btw, we added your tumblr’s link to our Wow, Awesome -page. Hope that’s ok 🙂

      • I just saw this now. Two years later. Major fail on my part , sorry. I haven’t written much of anything and it’s been sad that I’ve been sitting on stories for years and not doing anything with them. I’m finally pushing out of the heavy depression I was in. I’m so happy you added my tumblr link but what’s a Wow, Awesome? And anything you two do is ok with me, I trust you both. I’m going to be using this site more often and going back to my tumblr too. I can’t sit and rot away all the time. I’m so excited for the second half of Solus!

  2. I don’t think any writing exercises, as long as they pertain directly to your world/characters/book, can be considered a waste of time. Anything that helps you understand more fully who you’re writing, what they want, what’s going on around them and where they come from is good for the health of the book, and you can always seed more tidbits into the text.

    As for writing up background scenes, I don’t do much of that on purpose — though I do keep material that I cut for being not directly relevant but which still had information that was helpful to me. I have some attempts at short stories that count as that sort of thing too. Every little scrap is helpful; I just need to make sure I don’t mix up the bits that have actually happened with the bits that are no longer canon, just neat.

    • Thanks for commenting! Yeah, about the mixing up… sometimes we forget what we have written into the story or what we’ve cut out 😛 It’s particularly annoying when the manuscript is really long, there’re several characters, and the plot is on the more complex side…

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