Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dusting Off Those Old Scenes

We all have them.  We writers that is.  Old scenes you've torn from a manuscript as too much filler.  Assuming we all live in the digital age, most of these old scenes should still be lying around somewhere on your hard drive.  So my question is, is it okay to revisit these scraps from the cutting room floor and breathe new life into them for a new story?

I've just finished a massive re-write and had to cut a lot.  Most of the scenes weren't poorly written, it's just that the story changed and they no longer fit.  I had a hard time letting some of them go.  In fact, I dumped whole storylines and groups of characters.  I can see them easily popping up into later works. 

The next question is, is that lazy?  Will it be harder to write a story with these scenes in mind, or are we better to let them die, so the natural writing juices can spring forth with newer, better stories?

Discuss.

8 comments:

Travener said...

Not lazy at all. Re-use, recycle. You created these people, these moments. If they fit in another universe you create, by all means take advantage of that.

Abby said...

Perfectly ok! Writers do it all the time. If it's a well written scene that might fit better somewhere else with some tweaking, why not? Not lazy at all. After all, it is something you have already written.

What would be lazy would be to plagiarize from someone else's work that has been already published.

ralfast said...

Publish them as shorts tied to the main story?

Jennifer Shirk said...

Recycling is good. :)
I "lifted" a scene from my very first never to see the lgiht of day manuscript and put it in a book that will be published this year. So I'm happy that some of what I had written could still be used.

coffeelvnmom said...

I don't think it's lazy at all. And who knows, the scenes you "borrow" from a different piece of work may end up being an even better MS than the previous one, in the end! Go to it, I say, and make use of the words you wrote!:)

LM Preston said...

I put my recycled parts into a file and keep them as marketing materials for the books I've written. Most of my work is so different that it's hard to recycle, but you can write several short stories with those characters in mine to also use to sell your work.

Amy Saia said...

Always keep tidbits. I cut quite a few things during my revision, and some of those scenes/lines came in handy later. Just keep a separate tidbit folder for every manuscript.

Matt said...

Consensus rules! While I don't keep a separate file for everything I cut, I do keep every draft I've written. When I make changes I save it as a new revision. To find those old scenes is just a matter of reading through the proper revision.

Suffice it to say, I have some ideas brewing that include some of my old scenes.