C is for Cut

C is for Cut. Wether you're an artist or writer or singer or dancer or filmmaker—anything creative—there's going to come a time when you have to cut sections from your project. It's probably the hardest part of what we do. We're so close to our work, we see the beauty of every single part, so to cut something is like drawing blood and pouring it down the drain. But it's necessary. It must be done. Here's what I do to help the process:

For each project keep an extra file where you can put all those ideas that don't quite fit. You can use them later on, or save them for other projects. Ideas are like putty, they can be molded to fit. If you are writing, for instance, and you sense that a scene is too long and maybe a whole chapter just seems to be sitting there with no reason, take it out and put it in the extras folder. Does the book read better now? Are the characters still alive? Good. You didn't need that scene. You may like it, but you didn't need it. You can always add it back in (but try not to).

Happy Monday!

Comments

  1. Great idea to keep those precious words, lines, paragraphs in a folder for later inspiration.
    Even when emailing someone I have deleted part of/or even the whole thng and started again. To me, that's the beauty of working on "paper" instead of face to face. You can clean up your conversation until you are sure you have what you want.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I never throw anything away because, as you say, it might just work for something else. Great post!

    Ellie Garratt

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have so many posts sittting in draft. I thought they were good ideas, but did not work for that moment. Kind of like all the stuff I have collected in my basement.

    Well put!

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's why we painters 'sketch'. We work away, then store it for when needed; usually never!

    ReplyDelete
  5. My eyes went all wonky and I read your title wrong! *giggle*

    I do that too. I have countless files of cut text. Sometimes I make poems out of them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. mybabyjohn- Me too. Sometimes twitter makes me nervous because when I make a mistake it's out there for everyone to see. I really dislike that.

    Ellie- Thank you and welcome!

    Starting Over- I think I have a couple of saved/unused drafts too. I'm always worried Google will post them without my knowing, haha.

    Cro- Ha! Well, the ones you've shown are gorgeous.

    Jessica- Yikes, I know the word you speak of : D Love the idea of saving things for poems!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I keep a folder like this, too. Great Post! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. So true! It's getting easier for me to cut, even sections I love, because I'm learning to see where it doesn't advance the story. Doesn't make it any easier though!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Cutting isn't the problem for me. I know when something doesn't work for the narrative. As an ENFJ (personality type), my judgement is swift. Once the cutting is done, though, I'm left with a mess of body parts I need to sew back together. Here is where I struggle. Good luck with the challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I keep my cut stuff, but I never go back and use it again! Still, it's comforting to know it's there.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "A mess of body parts" so true and funny. It does feel like we're surgeons sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Doesn't matter how short your story is, you can always cut. My stories seem to be getting shorter and shorter all the time!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have kept out files and find I can pull some stuff for future projects. It may not fit in my current work, but who knows that it won't be the perfect line (or spring board) for something in the future?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Juliet- That's a good thing. The tighter the prose, the better.

    Tess- Very true, you never know!

    ReplyDelete
  15. It is hard to cut sections out - - but when it's right to do it - - the reading is so much better!

    I'm a new follower from the A-Z Challenge. Nice to meet you!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love to cut. I'm wordy for the most post, so when I do revisions I end up cutting quite a bit.

    www.TheRegalRenegade.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great advice. When I was writing my book, I needed some action in the opening scene, but it didn't actually have to be too important to the actual plot--it just needed to put the character in a place. I was drawing a blank and then dug through my files and found an experiment in writing second person pov that had a good action scene. I converted it to third person, and had an opening. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I can cut, but I can't delete. I always save what I take out...just in case. Happy A2Z!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I always save my cuts too. I have successfully fit them in other works.
    I should have thought of this 'C' word since I have been cutting for a month. I must have blocked it out.

    http:www.doreenmcgettigan.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. well said.
    And yep, it's always easier to cut if I save it first ;)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Yep you're right, that's always tough to do, and it may take another person to notice!

    Duncan In Kuantan

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh yes! Keep all the drafts! You never know if you may need to get back to something!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks for the insightful post. I'll keep this in mind. Happy Tuesday! :o)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts