Sunday, April 1, 2012

WIP Pied: Outtakes vs. Actual Story

As I transition out of reading/betaing mode back into editing mode, I've been compiling notes, making to-do lists, reviewing old to-do lists, and generally procrastinating by pawing through the depths of my WIP folders (I know, not the most enthralling way to procrastinate, but at least I can sort of trick myself into thinking I'm working).

Inside one of my somewhat cobwebby "Editing" folders, I found three word documents labeled "Outtakes" and opened them up. Turns out that when I edit, I make a lot of cuts! 

Ratio of Outtakes to Actual Story by Word count?  1.3:1.

So far Actual Story is somewhat holding its own at 43% but as soon as I go through Round four of edits, I'm sure Outtakes will emerge the confident winner.

*Sigh* All those pretty little words, sitting in in their lonely files ... overlooked and unloved.  But while I'm sad that the 57% didn't make the cut, I'm also relieved. At 99K, my WIP could still use a lot of paring down. So all in all, it's a good thing that I seem to have no qualms tossing bits of my WIP aside. Besides, I think a part of me still secretly holds out hope that one day, all those scenes and characters and overly-long descriptions of sunsets will one day end up in another book.

What about you? Do you save all the outtakes from your WIP? Do you ever use them again? What's your ratio of outtakes to actual story?


  1. Look at it this way... when they make a movie out of your book they won't have to cut so many scenes to keep it within budget or time constrictions. :)

  2. Both my previous wip and my current had outtake documents almost twice the size of the finished novel ... eesh. I guess I waffle too much.

  3. I don't know what my ratio of outtakes is, but I do save them! And sometimes, I find a new home for them :)

  4. I'm not sure of the ratio, but I don't really save the outtakes. Maybe I'll hang onto something if it really strikes a chord with me (when it won't work regardless of how much I knead it into the story), but those are rare.

    To date I've never reused anything, but I'm not sure it won't happen in the future.

    I'm afraid my edits for my next ms are going to be brutal--I'm hoping to keep around 35-40% of the first draft. *is hopeful it's not a lower percentage...*



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