Deleting scenes is hard

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.


MARCH QUESTION: Have you ever been conflicted about writing a story or adding a scene to a story? How did you decide to write it or not?

MY ANSWER: Frankly, I usually have the opposite problem. I tend to write long, often longer than the prescribed word count, so my challenge is not what to add but what to delete without compromising the story, while staying inside the allowed word count. Deleting scenes and even chapters during revisions is a regular writers’ task. Sometimes, it is just common sense. Other times, it is painful. You like the scene so much, you invested your heart in it, the participants came out alive, the descriptions are throbbing with emotions, BUT… If it is not relevant for the overall story, if the story could live without it, you should cut it out.

What I do if I like the deleted scenes too much: I collect them. Some of them make wonderful short stories later on.  


This post wasn’t easy for me to write. As you could see above, I didn’t really have an answer to this month’s question, I didn’t have any other ideas, and I didn’t want to skip the post either. Since I joined IWSG in 2014, I never skipped the post day. I’m not about to start. So I made the decision: whenever I have trouble writing an IWSG post, I will post one of my pre-made book covers. It is about books. And it definitely covers my insecurity as a book cover creator. So far, I only created two book covers for real people and real stories. Maybe if I advertised more… So here is this month’s cover. Of course, it is fantasy.



This entry was posted in book cover, Fantasy, Insecure Writer's Support Group, Olga Godim and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Deleting scenes is hard

  1. I had the problem of too many words with my first manuscript and had to cut 20,000+ words. Now I plot the major plot points and watch to be sure I’m not writing too many words for my genre so I don’t have to go through that process again. It’s great that you can use your deleted scenes.

  2. I have the opposite – I have to add.
    Sometimes I struggle with the questions. Awesome you haven’t missed a post! We might be the only ones.

  3. Denise+Covey says:

    That is an awesome illustration, Olga. Would be good to see some text like [TITLE HERE}, {AUTHOR NAME} [TAGLINE HERE].

  4. spunkonastick says:

    I had to cut a lot a scenes from my books and they could use more cutting.
    I think I’ve only missed one day. Maybe two.

  5. I’m always cutting scenes. I do keep them in a separate document. Great idea about the possibility of using them elsewhere!

  6. Jemi Fraser says:

    When I first started writing, I put in way too much and had to learn to trim.
    Now, I sometimes end up writing too short and have to add. I find adding much more challenging than trimming!
    Pretty cover!

  7. soniadogra says:

    Hi Olga. I understand about deleting scenes and how hard it can be. I rehashed an old story for WEP this time and I had to cut down by almost 500 words. It was tough.

  8. Helen Mathey-Horn says:

    Saving a deleted scene for reuse as a short story or the germ of an idea for another book is an interesting idea. If you liked it enough the first time, there is something there worth using. I think I have the cutting ‘back’ problem rather than the need to ‘flesh out’ problem.

  9. emaginette says:

    I love the cover. So many rainbows. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  10. cleemckenzie says:

    That deleting issue is major. How can I kill all of that… all of those hours? Been there, so I appreciate what you’ve experienced.

  11. Janet Alcorn says:

    I always have to cut too, and as you say, sometimes cutting is really hard.

    That book cover is lovely!

  12. Steph W says:

    Love the cover, looks like a good tale!

  13. Widdershins says:

    There be Dragons! 😀 … I keep my deleted scenes too. Like scraps of cloth, you never know when they’re going to come in useful. 😀

  14. Lee Lowery says:

    I’ve cut scenes and shifted them to shorter pieces, as well. Sometimes an idea just needs its own space.

    Gorgeous cover! I might be biased, as I’m partial to all things dragons. 🐉

  15. Beth Camp says:

    What a beautiful cover! Thank you for including it — along with those words of wisdom. In my current (nearly final revision) wip, I have a little scene where my hero gives a copy of Ivanho to a young boy. Well, ’tis a lovely (and historically accurate) gift, but you’re right! I have to delete it. Pretty strange for a hardworking railway worker to have access to such a fine book. Meanwhile, I hope this month goes well for you, and that you just might find a scifi writer who needs your talents!

    • Olga Godim says:

      Beth. That scene makes a story in its own right. How did that railway worker come upon such a book? Did he treasure it? And then gave it up to someone who needed it more. It could go so many different ways depending on what you want. Different genres even. Change the names and write a short story for some theme anthology. My imagination is firing already, but I won’t poach on your idea.

  16. Rebecca Douglass says:

    Oh, I have the problem of too many words, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t scenes that I either don’t want to write, or want write and know I shouldn’t (i.e. aren’t appropriate to the genre, or else are too personal)! I do like the idea of keeping those scenes (or even the ideas) and making them short stories).

    Gorgeous cover! I hope someone has the book to match it.

  17. yvettecarol says:

    I do the same. I agonize over cutting scenes but I never throw them into the trash bin. There are numerous files in my story folders of deleted scenes, which I name ‘extras.’ You never know when the material could come in useful.

  18. Hello, sister in wordiness. I always have to carve away superfluous text as I edit. Picture me, finger hovering over the Delete key, muttering, “Don’t need this. Don’t need this…” Lovely cover! I wish you happy writing in March.

  19. melissamaygrove says:

    I’m getting better at tight writing, so I don’t have to cut much anymore, but I’ve been there. It isn’t easy.

    Your cover is beautiful. You are talented.

  20. Jenni says:

    I usually have to add rather than cut, but I save all my extra scenes like you do. I’ve never thought of turning them into a short story. What a great idea!

  21. jlennidorner says:

    Nice book cover.
    Deleting scenes is hard.

    Hope you’re having a great day! My latest blog post has my theme for the April #AtoZChallenge (I’m writing speculative fiction and looking for prompts).
    At Operation Awesome we have the #PassOrPages query contest going on (friends or enemies to lovers Romance).
    Looks like I’ll be very busy the next few weeks!
    March quote: “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain

    • jlennidorner says:

      I’m doing the #AtoZChallenge – writing a speculative fiction short story.
      On the main A to Z site today for “B” I shared a list of books. Check it out!
      At Operation Awesome we’re doing the A to Z Challenge and running a survey to pick the next Pass or Pages query contest genre.

  22. Yvonne V says:

    Wow, congrats on never missing a post! That’s amazing.

  23. Like you, I write long, too and save the deleted scenes. Nowadays, deleting scene is not so hard because I find that readers love them in my newsletter and my blog, so I know those will always see the light of day, one way or another.

  24. Elizabeth Mueller says:

    How wise to hold onto deleted scenes! You can publish them as drabbles on your website or make coffee table shorts or a “secret revealed” for its book!

    I just came out of my writing cave of 6 weeks. It becomes so grueling when I focus on a word-to-word angle (overused words) to the point that I feel as though I’m dismantling my story rather than editing it. Aaagh!

  25. It’s wise to keep deleted scenes filed away for future use.
    I’ve heard many writers say that sometimes, when writing a story, a previously deleted scene pops into memory and they know it will fit into the current manuscript.

  26. Sometimes deleted scenes are nice little extras you can share with others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.