Tuesday, June 14, 2016
During my last critique group meeting, one of my fellow writers had written a beautiful paragraph that some of us thought wasn’t right for the piece he submitted. I told him to save what he had written. That it might work better in a future story.
This prompted a lively discussion of “out-takes,” some members of our group saying they simply deleted unwanted copy, others saying they kept a file of temporarily unusable verbiage but rarely referred to it.I keep an out-take file for every major piece I am writing, and I do check them from time to time, especially when I experience a serious case of writer’s block. On a few occasions I found exactly what I needed. Many times I wasn’t able to use what I had saved, but reading what I had written stimulated my brain, leading me to write something that did fit. Other times I left empty-handed.
We writers often fall in love with what we write and don’t want to let it fall victim to the delete key. I have been guilty of wasting precious time, trying to find a place for something I thought was “brilliant.” J My out-take files allow me to save these little gems, writing which I may read later and ask myself, “What was I thinking?”My advice is don't force feed your writing. You probably will change a lot of things before you are finished, and trying to work your story around a favorite paragraph or two can kill your progress.