Ever watch the “deleted scenes” section of a DVD? Did you wonder why the scene was cut? The acting was superb, the camera angles were involving? Why were they cut? Sometimes the director tells you, sometimes you are left to guess. Well…what could it be? Usually, that fabulous scene does not move the story forward.
When you are writing you may find scenes that you need to cut? How do you know? It could hold some of your best writing. If it is backstory, I don’t need to tell you do I? It doesn’t move the current story forward. But what if the scene is a delightful comic moment in the middle of a tense drama? What if a new character wanders in and wants to take over? What do you do?
You always have choices about what to leave in your story and what to take out. Of course, the first sort is moving the story forward. If it is a great descriptive passage that does not set a mood or, often in historical writing is just a knowledge dump, cut it out. The story is the system override.
Sometimes, you can ruin the tone or mood of a scene or a story by bringing in an out-of-mood scene. Yeah, yeah, I know about comic relief but you need to be very careful with this when you are a beginning writer.
Cut any scene that fits one of the above discard categories, even if it is some of your best writing. Save it for another story.
Before you send your story off, be certain to look for those scenes to delete. One odd moment can make your audience lose interest…right there. You certainly don’t want that.