1. Foxe

    Foxe Active Member

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    The Writing Left Overs

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Foxe, Aug 23, 2016.

    How do you guys organize excerpts of your writing that have been taken out, no longer have a home, but could be used again for that particular project your working on?

    I've just begun a side folder of writing bits and loose ends but I'm afraid as the project progresses I'll lose track of where they belong, or what section inspired them.

    Maybe that folder will just remain a little treasure trove of random excerpts to be used whenever it seems appropriate.
     
  2. tonguetied

    tonguetied Contributor Contributor

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    I am not offering any particular help or suggestion but I just don't quite understand what these "excerpts" are. They sound a lot like the 'darlings' that writers are supposed to kill so keeping them for future use seems like an exercise in futility to me. However I have seen many forum members mention this same concept so there must be something more to it.

    One thing I will say is that writing something down is a form of memory technique, reading it is another and speaking it is the third primary memory technique. Our brain is probably the best Google device we will ever come in contact with so a memory technique is probably a good way to store this information for future access, therefore the act of writing it for future reference is good. Maybe rereading this collection of darlings from time to time is also good if it doesn't cloud your vision of your current work.
     
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I keep odds and ends because they might be useful for the next book or short stories or whatever (or for giving me a bigger pic of the characterisation)

    On the kill your darlings thing - i think that's more feel free to kill your darlings - not kill every single one in a sort of verbal genocide
     
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  4. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Keep writing. Contributor

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    I've thought about keeping those few bits for other writing, especially the clever lines that just didn't fit in; sadly they're like those plastic bags you keep, but their only real use is holding the other plastic bags you collect.


    What I've decided to do is have a sort of blooper reel after the end.
    I'll write a line about where each excerpt was meant to go, the idea behind it, and why it didn't make the cut.
     
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  5. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I keep a file of stuff I've cut from any given project I'm working on - it may not have fit where I had it, but it might still be useful down the line. (These are things that are cut for pacing, usually - yes, we need to give the reader something about the different social systems, but probably not in the middle of a damn battle! - that sort of thing).

    I don't usually have too many, so it's just a Word doc I keep in the same folder as the MS doc. Nothing fancy. And I don't always have one, not for every book. I generally just delete things altogether.
     
  6. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    I have a doc for every chapter where I cut and paste. I don't know really why, because I have never r-eused one of those bits again. Guess it is just for sentimental reasons, and to be able to be astonished at the wc in there :D
     
  7. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    As my novel has evolved, I have kept several different "drafts" of it. But I don't expect to use the cut segments for anything else.
     
  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I used to save things I cut. I ended up with so many documents with these passages I had cut that it all started to seem kind of ridiculous. And I've never gone back to those to use anything I was so worried about discarding. I'm no longer afraid to just let this stuff go. The truth is I'm not going to use any of it in the future. I'm going to write new stuff that is probably and hopefully better than anything I decided was no good for whatever I am currently working on. I just don't need that stuff. When I got a new computer, I decided not to bring all those documents with the so-called leftovers. My writing life feels a little less cluttered now. And knowing that none of those documents were worth my time to read and go through, I have changed my ways.
     
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  9. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I keep them in a folder in my Research area in Scrivener or maybe the Character subfolder. Sorta' depends on what the cut item is. For example, I had to completely rework one character in a WIP, so her old occurrences got nixed, but I really liked the writing of that older version of her, so maybe old-her becomes someone else in the story. Maybe not. If the cut parts just feel really dead-endish, I'm not afraid to just trash them. It's just words. You can always write more.
     
  10. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    How about just simply titling each excerpt as you cut & paste it across to another file. That way you'll have something to jog your memory regarding their context.
     
  11. Foxe

    Foxe Active Member

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    I think the best advice is to kill one's darlings, with some exceptions.
    What else am I going to do with all this writing detritus? It's been axed for a reason.
     
  12. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    I make a new copy of my working file each day. Anything I might decide to go back to will be somewhere in those older files. Making myself go hunt for it ensures that I'm gonna really-really wanna find it.
     

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