Bringing a Story to Life – Throw it Away Already!

DSC_8309 - Version 2I just went through a cringe worthy exercise.  After getting out about 230,000 words in three weeks – most of it on Metatron’s Army – I was feeling a little burned out this morning.  Knowing how my mind works, however, I went through a series of exercises I use when trying to get in the mindset for writing.

It has to do with the need to feel productive.  Well, that and I missed my characters.

None of it worked!

Now what?  I don’t have any “big guns” to pull out at such a time.  I was far from panicked though since I knew it wasn’t writer’s block, simply mental fatigue that was the culprit.  I decided to try one last trick, sitting out in the sun.

It’s quiet.  I get to watch hummingbirds, butterflies, and dragonflies.

After about fifteen minutes during which nothing happened to stimulate the creative juices I decided to get back to my desk and sort through some old files under the Metatron’s Army folder.

I was looking for a scene I wrote over a year ago that I’m ready to use.

Though I never did find that scene, I did find plenty of others dated from 2015 – 2017 that hadn’t made it into the current material.

Now I know why.

The basic premise was the same but there were a number of differences including that several characters had different first and/or last names.

I will never discuss some of them.  They were that bad.

Groan.  What will never see the light of day, however, are the scenes that never made it into the final cut.

They were awful!

This biggest problem? They were overly dramatic!  It was worse than a soap opera!

Or a bad B sci-fi movie.

As I closed then deleted the awful stuff I couldn’t help but appreciate how much I’ve grown as a writer.

I’d say that stuff was reflective of where I was in my life but I know better, so it had to be growth as a writer, not as a person.

The interesting part of it is that this series wasn’t my first work as a novelist.

It wasn’t even my first foray into the genre though the earlier material ended up in the rubbish bin long ago. 

Perhaps it was that the characters themselves had matured between the time I started chicken scratching notes and when I sat down to work on Advantage: Book One in the Metatron’s Army Series.

About a two-year gap, give or take.

Whatever the reason, I am so grateful those alternate scenes never made it out of the folders.

To me, this is more support for the idea that writers don’t need to hang onto every scrap of paper upon which they’ve put down a thought – in case they might “use it someday.”  It probably isn’t worth the space it takes up and it may give you a case of indigestion down the road if you don’t “return it to the source” ** by deleting it.


** Existentially speaking, of course.


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