Monday, September 8, 2008

Deleted Scenes? Deleted Scenes!

No self-respecting DVD is released without at least a few deleted scenes these days. Scenes get clipped out of movies for any number of reasons: to keep the movie from becoming too long (cutting ten minutes from a movie can mean the theater gets one more showing per day), to avoid getting a "kiss of death" R or NC-17 rating (of course, these scenes are then restored in the "unrated director's cut"), or because they just didn't seem to fit when the film editor started splicing the bits and pieces together to make a whole movie.

Books can be similar. I'm told there are authors who can assemble the whole story in their head, start with "Chapter 1" and proceed to "The End" without ever going back or wasting a word. I'm not one of them--I wrote close to a half-million words for The Last Protector, of which only 150,000 (the best 150,000, or so I hope) made it into the finished book. Some of the other 350,000 words, of course, were never intended to be part of the book; they were "scaffolding"--files on the various characters, settings, backstory bits, timelines of stuff going on out of sight, and so forth. But some were scenes that seemed to have a place in the story when I wrote them, but later on didn't.

The deleted scenes I've included here were clipped out fairly late in the writing process; in fact, at least two of them were in the book when I got my publishing contract with Twilight Times Books. This means they're pretty polished. I have some other deleted scenes in my files, scenes that are a lot rougher because I cut them sooner. One group, adding up to several tens of thousands of words, depict the bad guys plotting their evil deeds, kind of like the scenes in The Empire Strikes Back, where we see Darth Vader plotting his move for Luke Skywalker. Fairly early in the writing process, I realized two things: first I had to write these scenes, so that I would know what the bad guys were up to; second, I had to cut them, because I'd decided to keep my "camera" tightly focused on Scrornuck, Jape and Nalia. The way I'd chosen to write the book, the reader shouldn't know anything that the heroes don't know. Fortunately, I figured this out before I'd polished those scenes. Much, anyway.

So, a few deleted scenes. Enjoy! And one more note: if you haven't (yet) read the book, relax, these scenes are spoiler-free. None of them tell you anything critical about the ending of the story; in fact, they really don't tell you much beyond what's already revealed by the two chapters you can read on the Twilight Times website.

Deleted Scene: Scrornuck Can Fix Anything

Deleted Scene: The Artificial Canyon

Deleted Scene: The Giant Japanese Robot

Deleted Character: Scenes Featuring Schaughnessy

Deleted Song: Buried Alive!

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