File of Someday

Funny how it happens, this fixation with a scene, a line, or a word.Sunflowers3

I first noticed it when I was painting Sunflowers in Cobalt.

In the upper left corner of the painting were a few square inches of sublime perfection.The oil paint meshed with the canvas in such a smooth and graceful way, the colors blended into the beauty of a sunset, and the eye of the beholder immediately ground to a halt on this spot. Suddenly, the rest of the painting, the gorgeous vase and buttery yellow flowers were an after thought instead of the focus. Under Photoshop’s mighty microscope of save-for-web you can see where I feathered my gorgeous brush strokes away. I hated doing that, but it was necessary.

The same thing happens with writing, doesn’t it? Now that I’m working on my latest novel, I’m on the lookout for the fixation pitfall traps. In my first novel I forced myself to sacrifice a great scene, the poker game, for the sake of the plot. It was a wonderful moment between my characters with high-stakes, daring innuendos, and sexual tension. But, it just didn’t move the story along, so it had to go.

Later, I did realize one thing. There’s no reason I can’t use that concept, with its playful mayhem, in a sequel or a completely different book. So, it waits, filed under someday. My characters knew how great it was and, someday when I’m writing along, minding my own business, they’ll remind me the card game has found its niche.

(I did sell Sunflowers in Cobalt. Sometimes it pays not to get too attached).

Which one of your scenes fascinated you beyond reason? What convinced you to delete it?

Painting by Me.

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10 thoughts on “File of Someday

  1. Loved the painting, and the connection to writing… thanks for the tip! Great post!

  2. Just two days ago, I cut, cut, cut. I can’t remember what because I shut my eyes and didn’t even say goodbye. No, nothing I could keep. It was was a sentence here and a sentence there. I’ll look at the whole thing tomorrow. 🙂

    • Ooh, I always line-out. Once something’s gone forever it can suddenly become the BEST thing I ever wrote. But, maybe your way is better. Moving on isn’t my strong point, hence this glacially slow first draft:)

  3. ‘Delete’ is such a brutal word! I much prefer ‘sort’ or even ‘redistribute’. ‘ 😉
    And, thanks to your post, I’ve just realized that one of the things I love about verbal versus visual expression is the mutability of all these words. In first draft they can be one way, and in revision quite another, in re-revision another, and in the edited version yet another. In spite of that, I will always have that first draft version to judge whether I’ve taken a better direction with the story or not–whether I’ve strayed too far from those first broad gestures of my intent.
    They say that if you love something you must set it free, and I have many, many scenes that I’ve reluctantly set free to find other stories. Hopefully they will come back to me someday. 🙂

    And wow, that painting of yours is fantastic! You are just full of fun surprises!

    • Thanks for the painting compliment. Painting was fun, even thrilling, but I couldn’t make a living — kinda like writing so far:)
      And, you are completely right about the drafts, revisions, etc. No law says you can’t change your mind. As I said in my Ste J response, my first draft is full of line-out parts and, who knows, I may back track and resurrect some things.

  4. Delete nothing, it can always be used for an avant-garde novel about characters who finds themselves in confused dreamscape of different plots and styles of writing.

    • That’s a great idea, Ste J
      I’ve taken to using the line-through setting when I decide to not-include a scene. I may go back and create your suggested novel!

  5. I truly admire your sunflower painting and can’t wait to read your new novel. Plug away.

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