Monday, May 16, 2011

Deleted Scenes and Commentary

When I'm having trouble writing a chapter I like to write the first thing that comes to mind. This sometimes works and I can work it into the story. Other times it's awful. Occasionally I'll write something that I like, but there are continuity problems and I'll have to delete the scene no matter how much I like it.

On my last book MIND THIEF this happened a lot in the chapters involving Debbie, a character I was having trouble with. I thought I'd do the DVD extra type thing and share my deleted scenes and offer author commentary.


Howie looked over to see the oncoming city bus. He was so surprised he wasn't able to say anything or move to help Debbie.

The bus plowed into Debbie at over 100 mph, instantly smashing most of her bones. Her body slid off the grill of bus and got caught on a sharp piece of metal from its damaged bumper. The bumper held Debbie's body for a moment as it hooked onto her ribcage, but as she was pulled under the bus her bones finally yielded and her ribs were pulled out of her body to serve as a bloody hood ornament for the bus.

The bus turned to the right as Debbie was pulled under and the left front tire ran over her head smashing it like a watermelon. The rear tires rolled over her mid-section squeezing her guts out of her body like toothpaste out of a tube.

A flock of seagulls spotted her remains and drove in to devour them. A pair of seagulls fought over her left eye that had been forced out of its socket as a third seagull snatched her right eye and flew off with it.

As Howie watched the seagull disappear into the sunset with Debbie's blue eye hanging from its beak he could only say, “I guess I won't be getting that blowjob.”


Although I liked that scene it had a few continuity problems with the rest of the book. I wrote it after establishing that they were in a study room on the second floor of the library, an unlikely place to be hit by an out of control city bus going nearly double the speed they are designed for.

The second problem is the book takes place in rural Ohio, so there wouldn't be a convenient flock of seagulls.

Finally, it portrayed Howie, the main character, as even more self-centered then he was. I also needed Debbie to be in several more chapters.

So I had to delete that scene.


“Golly, you look awful.” Debbie said when Howie ran into her in the student union.

Without saying a word Howie grabbed her right arm and swung her around so her back was to him. He covered her mouth with his right hand and dragged her through the door that said, “Employees Only”.

He looked around the empty kitchen until he saw the piece of equipment he was after. He dragged Debbie over to the industrial meat grinder and released his grip on her mouth. Her ignored her screams as he took off his belt and made it into a tourniquet to stop all bloodflow into her right hand.

He turned on the meat grinder and forced her right arm into it. The motor strained as it ground up the bones in her hand but the machine still produced a quarter pound of ground Debbie.

Howie grabbed the ground meat in one hand and pulled Debbie over to the grill. He put the meat onto the hot grill and flattened it down into a nice patty. As it grilled he held Debbie's bleeding stump onto the red hot grill, grinning as he heard the sound of her flesh searing.

When he was satisfied that her stump was nicely cauterized and had stopped bleeding, he flipped the ground Debbie patty. When both sides were nearly cooked he grabbed a hamburger bun and put it on the grill so it would be lightly toasted.

He threw Debbie to the floor and held her still by putting his left foot on her chest. She clawed at his leg with her left hand but was unable to free herself.

Howie grabbed the bottom bun with the spatula and placed it next to the grill, he flipped the patty of ground Debbie on top of it. He looked for the ketchup and mustard but saw they were out of reach. He had to make do with a little shredded lettuce and a slice of tomato. Putting the top of the bun on it he smiled at his handiwork.

He grabbed his masterpiece and knelt down next to Debbie. She stopped screaming when he pushed the Debbie burger into her face. She kept her jaw firmly shut as he held the burger to her lips. Howie sighed and reached over with his free hand and held her nose shut.

He held her nose for over a minute before she finally had to open her mouth to breath. Howie took that opening and shoved the burger into her mouth and released her nose. She took a big bite of the Debbie burger and he held her jaw shut until she swallowed.


This scene also had I few continuity problems, it was supposed to take place in between Howie's afternoon classes so the kitchen would be fully staffed. Also the next time Howie runs into Debbie, she asks him to a sorority party. She puts up with a lot of crap from Howie, but I don't think any self-respecting girl, or non self-respecting girl for that matter, would ask a guy out after he chopped off her right hand and fed it to her.


“Howie?” A strong mid-western, female voice pulled him out of his thoughts.

“Oh, Hi Debbie.” Howie pushed the chair across from him out with his leg and Debbie sat down.

“I wanted to thank you for helping me with psych class, you know.” Debbie's face lost its grin and she got pained expression. She rubbed her belly and said, “I don't think breakfast sat right, you know.”

Before Howie could say anything Debbie's head bolted back so she was facing the ceiling. Her chest exploded with such force that it sent one of her ribs flying across the room to plant itself into Howie's English professor's eye and out the back of his skull.

Damn, all that studying for nothing, Howie thought and looked back at Debbie.

A small alien creature climbed out of her open chest. It grabbed two of her ribs and held them over its head. “1...2...3...4,” it yelled out, hitting the ribs together. At the table next to Howie the head of Delta house had an alien burst out of his chest. It grabbed a rib and quickly strung several veins together to make a crude guitar.

Howie looked to the table on the other side of him and noticed that an alien had burst out of the chest of the Varsity Cheerleader Captain and used her lungs to fashion some crude bagpipes.

The aliens on the other tables leaped over to Howie's table as the alien who came out of Debbie's chest scampered up her body to start playing drums on her forehead.

As Howie used his napkin to brush off the pieces flesh that had hit him when his classmates chests exploded, he couldn't help but be impressed by the rocking cover that the aliens did of the Stray Cats, “Gonna rock this town”.


I liked this scene but the purpose of the chapter was to have Debbie ask Howie to a sorority party, she can't do that if her chest has exploded. So unfortunately I had to delete this scene as well.


I'm not sure if writing scenes that I know I'm going to delete later is the most efficient way of writing, but it does help me to work out my feeling towards my characters.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE


Stephanie Barr said...

I'm guessing Debbie wasn't a character you liked?

I have been known to write scenes I couldn't use, at least as originally envisioned. Sometimes I've even known it when I wrote them.

Nothing quite like this however.

I don't even like my asshole rapist bad guys this much.

Stephanie Barr said...

Whoops, make that "dislike". Yeah, that probably makes a tad more sense.

Project Savior said...

Yeah, having it be "dislike" makes it a different meaning from your first statement.
And it wasn't that I didn't like Debbie, she just very difficult to write. I envisioned an interesting character, someone who was pretending to be a superficial sorority girl to hide a sinister past. But I had forgotten that the superficial sorority girls bored the hell out of me in college. So as I wrote her character I had the hardest time making her interesting enough when she was in character to get to the points where she slips up and reveals something out of character.
By getting my frustrations out before writing her character I think I made her a tolerable character who I felt sorry for in the end. Her final scene in the book is almost as tragic as these deleted scenes.