Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Be Picky About the Trash

Well, I am now officially one chapter away from finishing MC.*

Back in this post, I spoke about not being afraid to trash ideas. Even if it means scraping out a whole section of story you'd planned. If it doesn't need to be there... well, you know the rest of that speech. But right now I want to state yet another obvious axiom. Don't actually trash what you're throwing away. It might come in handy later on...maybe even for the same book.

No, I am not turning around and using the parts I disposed of in the other post. But I did remove something from my pile of notes (which often collect one page beyond the current endpoint) only to discover I still needed it. Initially, I thought it would be fun to arrange the book in a certain way, but the more logical solution played out. I kept it on the bottom of my page, this narrative structure idea, but the rest of story events never lent itself. So I erased it. Good thing I didn't forget it entirely. It turns out the last chapter fits this device.

In this particular case I happened to remember the structure device I'd scrapped. But we wouldn't want to rely on just our memories. My notes, of course, are backed up as well. To an unobsessive degree. But I can always go back to the original set and outline.

So... go ahead, be a trash picker. You just might need a spare part.

"Bonus points" if you know why I chose the first picture.
*Title initials.

1 comment:

Danielle Mari said...

Great idea! Reminds me of Mr. D. in playwrghting. I had a line I just LOVED, but had to admit he was right and that it just didn't fit with the scene. He told me to start a "line bank." Put the line in there, let it accumulate interest. And if you need it later, it's ok to make a withdrawal.