Friday, February 18, 2011

Deleted scenes

Did you know that for litho-printed books, the number of pages in the book has to be divisible by 16? This means that if your book pages total 328 (as mine do) you are left with 8 spare pages.

I was brought up not to waste anything, so Dave’s suggestion to stop worrying and just to have blank pages at the end of the book did not appeal. But what could I put on those pages?

I thought about the scenes which Chrissie wants me to cut from the novel because she thinks they slow down the narrative drive, and then I thought about the deleted scenes you sometimes get on film dvds, and I thought ah-ha! I could put my deleted scenes in the blank pages at the back, and before I considered it further I fired off an email to Chrissie – what did she think?

Then I thought durrhh!  If I am cutting scenes from the book, I will be using fewer pages so if I stick them in the back I will still have roughly the same number of pages – 328 – and therefore I will still have 8 spares.

Then I got a reply from Chrissie, who pointed out:

My immediate response is that I don't think it is a good idea for a variety of reasons. But mainly because readers don't want to be reminded that this is a novel - they know it is, but they want to think of these people as real people whose lives go on when the novel is over. Having bits stuck on the end disrupts that and forces them to acknowledge that you made all this up.

A better idea it seems to me would be have these on your blog - but after publication - so that if readers want they can have more scenes from the lives of Fran and Sol. But, Sue, don't let your Quakerly thrift get the better of you. Just because you've written it, YOU DON'T HAVE TO USE IT. In the end some things just have to be thrown away.

……..It might be interesting for other writers to see what didn't make the cut, but you are writing for readers. Be proud that you had the courage to delete the bits that didn't work and leave it at that.

Oooh, doesn’t she talk good sense? You can see why it’s hard to resist her suggestions about my novel, can’t you?

p.s. and now I am off to Paris – so if you comment, please be patient till Monday.

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