Saturday, November 7, 2020

Do You Save Excised Text ?

Scott D. Parker

When it comes to deleting text from you work in progress, do you up and delete it or do you save it?

I’m revising the existing chapters of my current work in progress before I hit that mark where I’ll be crafting brand-new words. As of yesterday’s writing session, I realized that a chapter/scene I had written really isn’t necessary. Actually, I’ve already excised two scenes because I think they’ll slow the pace. I can get the same information across with a tweak to an earlier chapter.

So what to do with the now deleted text?

I am using Scrivener for this particular book. If you’ve never used this program, it’s a little like Windows Explorer (or Finder for Mac folks) with each scene/chapter its own unique folder. There is also a ‘research’ folder at the bottom of the file structure. Typically this is used to house whatever research a writer needs to craft the book.

I have a folder I call “Excised text” and I’m pretty sure you can guess what that is. It is the folder into which I place all the content I will not be using.

Sure, I could—and do—simply delete it from the main sections of the book, but I also want to keep a record of it. In my comp book, I note that I’ve removed certain scenes. On my notecards, I’ll note that I’ve remove the scene from the main flow—but I keep the card in its original spot. I guess that’s the historian part of me. I want the record to show that on such and such a day, I removed a scene. It’ll also act as a road map if, when I’m finished, I go back and reconsider if the excised text/chapter really does belong. I’ve got all that text at the ready.

It’s a pattern I’ve always adhered to, going back as far as my grad school days.

How about you? Do you merely delete text/scenes you don’t need, or do you save it…just in case? I’m a process guy and I’d love to know how other writers treat text they don’t want to use.


Elizabeth said...

I save everything because computer storage space is so cheap now. Recently I purchased an external one-terabyte hard drive for $40.

Bob Mueller said...

If I'm deleting a big chunk of text, like a whole scene, it goes in "WIPNAME Outtakes" in case I need or want to use it later.