East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Exploring the trash bin

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waste-basket-2_21218052Confessions of a hack: I used to keep a copy of cut and deleted scenes from my stories, and I still do.
In the old times, I simply did a cut & paste into a TXT file I kept in the same folder of my main text, and nowadays I have an overflowing trash bin in my Scrivener file.
Turns out it’s a good practice if you have a Patreon page, because fans are sometimes interested in taking a tour of your dustbin in search of what does not get in the final edit, and maybe discover why that stuff was cut.
But the reason I always did it is, I recycle my trash – going through the cut scenes for good paragraphs of description or god snippets of dialogue that I can use somewhere else in the text.

wasterecycling___This requires a modicum of attention, in the final editing phase, or you’ll end up with characters changing name from one scene to the next, because you recycled a bit of dialogue between two different characters and failed to set all the names straight.
Which, incidentally, is what happened this morning – and I went through an extra bout of revision after my editor caught two scenes in which the wrong characters were doing the right thing.
But I corrected that easily, and directly on the Kindle source, so I guess I could go on and announce there’s a short novel of mine coming out soon-ish.
Watch this space.

And again, writing an episode of AMARNA today1, I went digging in my rubbish bin, and came out with a whole 1000-words scene that turned into two 700-words scenes.
That’s what I call a job well done.

And I’ve still some good stuff to mine for future contents, such as…

The back of the Shepheard’s overlooked the seedier side of Cairo, a warren of small houses and animal pens, a maze of crooked lanes and dusty alleys, where people did not make eye contact and kids played street games as ancient as the pyramids. Dogs ran freely with the kids, and everybody was very attentive while not looking so.
Sneaking in through the suppliers’ entrance was not that hard. Valerie had made a profession of sneaking into places where she was not supposed to enter, starting in 1919. Back then, a sweet innocent girl of twenty-one from Aix en Provence, she had gatecrashed, albeit discreetly, the Paris Peace conference to write a piece for a newspaper. She could still remember the fear and excitement she had felt back then, now just a not unpleasant tug at the back of her mind, as she approached the service entrance.
The trick, she had learned in Paris fifteen years before, was to act like she belonged there. Most people will not interfere with anyone acting purposefully. She smiled at two staff members that were leaning against the wall, smoking cigarettes.
“Hi, guys! Don’t get caught!”
They looked at her awkwardly, and gave her a nod as she pushed through the back door and went in.

… that currently is a cut scene from AMARNA episode 1, but will maybe come in handy in the future.

Now it has been pointed out to me that this was not possible in the glorious times of the typewriter, and that real writers don’t need to use any cut & paste or backspace to do their thing.
And yet, I still remember a time when I rode a bicycle without gears — should I stop adjusting the gears on my current bike to show I’m a real cyclist?

Nature tends to favor the line of less stress to do work.
Why shouldn’t I?

  1. first episode coming out in ten days. Again, watch this space. 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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