Notes to Self: Scene cuts and growth

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned it anywhere, but in the process of writing the series we would often run through a chapter multiple times in editing. I’m particularly a waffler on these things, and a bit of a pack rat when it comes to hoarding rather than deleting.

Before we found gdocs as a main way to write stories, we did most of our editing in Word. Boyd is, obviously, very introspective as a character so especially in Evenfall I had a hard time figuring out which bits to keep and which to remove in his narration– so that the thought process was still explained well enough for readers to get where he was coming from, but so that it wasn’t way too much. (That’s one of the things I want to address the most in Evenfall 3.0 edits)

In addition to that, Boyd didn’t always react the way I expected he would when we first plotted out scenes. Sometimes a small thing in the way Hsin said or did something made Boyd react in a way that was counterproductive for what we’d planned for the scene, but was more realistic to him as a person. This meant there were some scenes we wrote, and rewrote, and REWROTE… (And it wasn’t just Boyd doing this; Hsin would, too. Those little bastards didn’t know how to make writing this series easy on us)

I’m not sure if it sounds strange to anyone to refer to Boyd as someone with his own mind but that’s how he always felt to me. I just knew this or that felt right for him, and sometimes it wasn’t until later that I understood why.

I think intuitively I just felt very strongly that he would do or say certain things. I always knew what drove him at the heart of his character, but the reason we’d had to start ICoS over from the original bits we wrote (before it was ICoS) was precisely because I knew if we wrote this story, Boyd would change as a person. Slowly, awkwardly, and not always efficiently, but I knew he would start as very depressed, closed off, suicidal, and with no hope, to eventually become someone with confidence, hope, dreams, and love. It had to be a growth that made sense. He had to have faults along the way, and make mistakes, but he was never malicious in anything he did because that was never who he was. His flaws always drew back to his deep insecurity coupled with what he felt was his hopeless desire to be loved and wanted.

I think I used to drive Sonny nuts on that, because when we’d have hypothetical conversations in planning scenes far in advance he’d say “If Hsin did ___ what would Boyd do?” and my answer so often was, “Well, it depends…”

Anyway, I changed my mind a lot in editing, but rather than delete the scenes I used to put them in separate documents in case we later decided to reincorporate it. I also like the idea of maintaining history for situations exactly like this. In order to remind myself what each doc was I named them things to jog my memory.

Just now, I found one of my folders that was filled with such excerpts and other bits and pieces, and the file names amused me. In case anyone is interested in a glimpse of the weirdly messy-but-organized contradiction that is my mind, see the screenshot below– and click on it to make it larger if the words can’t be read.

originalnotesicos

I think my favorite file name is “original whut im a killer convo.” I imagine Hsin sitting there with a D: face saying that to Boyd lol

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8 thoughts on “Notes to Self: Scene cuts and growth

  1. ladysieben October 5, 2013 / 10:17 pm

    “original crying crap from monterrey” < I'm curious.
    "original soggy cig" < WTF?
    "original ZOMG SCARZ" < can't stop laughing.

    I do that, too. Saving things instead of deleting them, just in case I'll find a use for them later. Or just because. One of my creative writing instructors used to make fun of me for that and he used a very crude metaphor to explain the difference between my method (stop and rewrite and save the original just in case) and his (spew a bunch of stuff nonstop and then clean it up). In the end, it just means that it takes me ages longer to finish something than it does other people, but I'll generally feel better about my final product than theirs.

    • Ais October 6, 2013 / 4:05 am

      Yes! I’m not alone!

      ” In the end, it just means that it takes me ages longer to finish something than it does other people, but I’ll generally feel better about my final product than theirs.”

      Interesting… did you usually feel better because you had direct comparisons since you’d saved the original, or was it because it let you pilfer from previous scenes?

      Having the original was really helpful in a recent rewrite scene. Otherwise I find myself remembering things vaguely and it gets annoying trying to redo what was once done. I wonder how other people deal with that situation when they throw things out.

      I checked on those scenes you wondered about because I didn’t remember any either.

      ““original crying crap from monterrey” < I'm curious.
      "original soggy cig" < WTF?"

      crying: It's an excerpt of a couple of paragraphs and our notes with next to no context so I'm actually not even sure where it came from. But in the excerpt, Sin apparently must have just touched Boyd casually or gently in some manner, and Boyd thinks about how significant casual or gentle touch can be. He thinks about his life and how since Lou and his dad, no one was there to casually touch him, and it happening now felt not only like reaffirming that he existed but also was particularly significant with Sin.

      Excerpt: "Sin so rarely touched anyone that Boyd felt like maybe he wasn't such a deplorable existence after all if Sin remembered he was there and was willing to reach out to him."

      And then he's basically extremely sorry/sad about what Sin did for him with Jared, and how he reacted. He thinks about how when Sin gets angry he gets hot, but when Boyd is angry he gets cold, and in his typical fashion he worries that it's all his fault.

      I have no idea where we had that originally. Probably in one of the original scenes around where Boyd explains why he never removes his shirt or where they're starting to grow closer and talking about their lives.

      soggy cig: looks like this was two paragraphs removed from the original scene in Monterrey where Boyd starts obviously flirting with Sin. In that original scene, Boyd had bought Sin some cigarettes and he returns to find Sin sitting on the couch reading a book. Boyd goes over and kneels on the floor next to him and they talk until Sin tells Boyd to just give him his cigarettes. In the paragraphs in this document, Boyd very obviously overboard flirts with Sin by putting a cigarette in his mouth and making sure to swirl his tongue on it to get it wet with his saliva before turning the cigarette around and placing it against Sin's lips.

      While doing this he says:

      "Reed used to smoke. I asked him if he still does, but he said he doesn't. So…" (cig pressed against Sin's mouth) "I guess this is only for you."

      Sin then stares at him pretty O_O style, finding Boyd's behavior to be suspicious but at the same time absently running his tongue over his lips, before demanding that Boyd make breakfast, so Boyd goes into the kitchen. And then the scene by the refrigerator.

      The soggy bit I apparently got from this line:

      "Sin sat there staring at Boyd incredulously, expression showing relative disbelief as the cigarette hung from his lips, soggy and tasting like Boyd."

      • ladysieben October 6, 2013 / 5:28 am

        I felt better because of the pilfering. It meant less work in some cases, but mostly it allows me to compare two or more different reactions or approaches to the same situation. That’s very helpful, particularly because I can go to my girlfriend and show her my options and ask which seems more likely according to the character or the setting.

        A better example, though, is the novel I’m working on, which is a sort of re-imagining of another novel project I had nursed for over five years and eventually ended up discarding because it was going nowhere and it made me extremely mad and unhappy. But about a week after I dumped that first idea, the second one came along and took shape very quickly. Even though it is kinda sorta loosely based on that dumped project, it’s a new entity, so to speak. And *then*, a second project emerged from that first discarded one. So, all in all, I’m happy I kept the notes, both physical and on the computer, otherwise I don’t think I’d be able to work on either of the new projects without it feeling like I was flailing around on ice or something.

        Recently, though, I realised I deleted two on-going short stories that I had finally decided to merge together to come up with something new. I have no back-ups, so now I find myself trying to make notes from what I remember, which is surprisingly little.

        That reminds me… I’m not sure if it happens to you, but I often forget important details about my stories, particularly character names and descriptions. I’ve a file on Scrivener now with all those details that I can reference to, but I still feel kinda silly that I can’t remember how to spell the last name of a character I’ve been working on and off with for over six years…

        Hmm. The “crying” notes sound like they would’ve led to a bit of an emo-fest from Boyd, although on a slightly different tune than what ended up on the books. I like the hot/cold comparison, though. I think it fits and explains them very well.

        Oh, god, I’m really sorry the soggy cig scene didn’t make it. It would’ve been extremely hot and shockingly hilarious. “Soggy and tasting like Boyd?” Man oh man…

  2. Ais October 6, 2013 / 7:52 pm

    It keeps removing my ability to directly reply to you so I’m not sure if you’ll see this. But if you do:

    1) That’s cool about the stories! Sounds like things I’ve done too. Including when you lost something and want to work on it but can’t. I did that with one story and it still frustrates me years later.

    2) I forget names and details too lol You aren’t alone

    3) crying– yeah it probably led somewhere emo which is why it was removed.

    4) cig– lol who knows if that will reappear in the rewrites. Probably not but you never know. Maybe removing the soggy reference could help if we added it back in XD

    • ladysieben October 6, 2013 / 11:16 pm

      Well, I now get notified over email when someone replies to a thread I’ve commented on, and I figured out where to track threads I’ve commented on directly on WP, so hopefully I won’t be missing things anymore.

      2) Thank goodness I’m not alone. I felt kinda crappy about it, like I keep forgetting my kids’ birthdates or something xD (Interestingly enough, I think of most of my characters as my kids, so I was kinda doing that :p Can’t complain about my dad, now!)

      • Ais October 7, 2013 / 12:28 am

        lol I forget my own birthday sometimes so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when I forget other things.

        Actually, have you ever read the convo Sonny and I had when we first decided to write icos? Hmm. I should post that on this blog too. I forgot Boyd’s name then too lol

    • Ais October 7, 2013 / 10:54 pm

      lol poor Boyd XD

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