I wonder how many writers out there are like me, and keep relatively close at hand previous drafts of passages, scenes, pages, or even chapters? For every story I write – even those 100 word challenges – I keep a separate document, where I drop all of the phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that don’t end up in the final draft. Some of these “unused” documents are small, of course, but others are hundreds of pages long. When I was writing 1 More Chance!, I put entire scrapped chapters into that standby document…!
Most of the time, what goes into the scrap heap stays in the scrap heap, but, on occasion, I go back to the well. Sometimes I do this just because I’m bored, and it’s interesting to see what I’ve edited out. But sometimes, I’ll pick up some discarded piece of prose and find a new use for it, with a new group of characters or a new situation. (Does this mean I’m plagiarising myself?)
A “draft” of any of my stories will usually undergo a great deal of change from inception to completion. That’s not to say that I don’t know what’s going to happen in beginning, middle, and end. But the plot (especially for the longer stories) will jump from Point A to Point D to Point G, before moving on to the originally-planned Point B. Even Fearless has done that, a little bit, and I’ve known since the first sentence how that one is going to progress.
I suppose that all of this has to do mostly with the fluidity of stories. It’s not an issue for me, despite what you may glean from the above musing. I just wonder if I’m the only one who holds on to everything to come before. Not that I’m going to change the way that I write. I mean, I like letting the characters and situations take over, for a while. After all, doesn’t that help to make the writing true?