Friday, January 11, 2013

When to Chuck it Out

I'm a Panster. And since I don't like outlining--to do so just wastes my time--the posibility that I will have to discard what I've written happens more than not on any WIP. You get so far and see where it's going and think Nah!

I was doing that in the 6th book WIP where I followed a scene till I realized I really didn't like it, or where it would wind up going. I could see I'd be following this secondary character way too much, and all I really wanted to do was to show his character since his "change".

As with any characters who have become part of Sabrina's story, I'm always trying to find some way of keeping it all fresh. Some characters who change either change for the good, or they've become evil/bad/dead. You need to kill a few of the evil ones off, but do so in a way that someone comes out the hero of the story, and the good ones, well, I need to bring them back because I think they could fulfil something in the plot that I need in a certain moment of drama--usually at the end.

So, when I got so far with this scene--which I thought was going well--I saw that it was going to involve that secondary character way too much, plus a tertiary character who was just introduced and I was beginning to not really like her, her life, and surroundings and knew I was never going to make her believable anyway...
So... delete,delete,delete.

But it's all good. If you get frustrated by the work you need to do, you need to ask yourself if you are up to the challenges of what it takes to actually make your WIP better. You may have to rip out whole chapters, and even characters from a WIP. You have to ask yourself the tough questions. I think I've been writing for so long, I know when that moment is, and without much thinking over it, I just get rid of it and start all over. They say you have to kill your darlings, and it's true. Sometimes they look somewhat like Frankenstein's monster when you're working on it. But when you get into the last drafts it should all come together as a whole and work--and no one sees the stitches!

So, I was wondering about this secondary character and how I wanted to make him different--not just another vampire--and where I wanted to go with him. It hit me this morning when I woke up. I knew what I had to do and got working on the concept. I had to do some research on Greek Mythology, and believe it or not found something that seemed as though it were made for what I needed. Since I'm so far ahead of my published work, I'm not going to say which character. I might start making people worry needlessly.

Until next time... keep on writing!


  1. All of this is familiar territory!

    I cut material, but I never discard it. I took an enormous amount of material from Chasing the Wind. It's now part of my current WIP.

  2. yes, exactly I think i have two temporary files in which to drop things like that. You never know when you might need that scene--or bits of it--on that character you began to develope.

    A good way to use something over, Norma!

  3. Lorelei, great how you manipulate your manuscript. I keep a loose outline; I don't like a lot of details and I have the details in my head and the story kind of unfolds itself. Yes, sometimes you just have to go back and rip out parts or make big changes. Part of the writing game. I have to go back to change the pov's in my WIP; something I decided need to be done. And Norma is correct; never discard because you might be able to reuse it somewhere else later. Good luck!

  4. Lena, a loose outline is wonderful--that way you can always change it. I usually have a separate doc. for the ideas, notes and even scenes because I sometimes think of them before I want to put them down on the main doc.

    Yes, I don't think we can absolutely kill our darlings, I think we simply put them on ice LOL!

  5. I tend to keep to an outline, but I'll improvise things along the way.


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