Excerpts from the cutting room floor

Words fallen in the gap between two drafts…and how much they make me cringe.

absorbed-2409314__340This is a bit of writing that was wholly cut between draft 1 and draft 2 of one of my projects. The larger scene more or less survived the purge, but I believe the sandwich suffered an abrupt termination.


At last round three ended when Bishop agreed to get Tara a sandwich and a better cup of coffee at a local deli, and he left her alone again. Tara decided that this round had been a stalemate, although she wasn’t quite sure why she thought it had gone less well than round two.

In the stillness of the otherwise empty room, with only coffee and a sandwich for company, Tara became absorbed in the question of her situation. Oddly enough, she was less concerned with ending this ordeal than with explaining it, as though she was on a mission where information was more vital than escape. The problem she kept running into was that she didn’t have nearly enough data to go on.


Even as Tara’s mind paced in circles, she kept herself still in her seat, some instinct telling her not to show agitation. Because she was overwhelmingly agitated. Some subconscious manifestation, or some lizard-brain synapses, were showing her a premonition, the certainty, of incipient doom. From every direction around her, Tara felt the cruel jaws of a waiting trap. But she couldn’t see it.

I must not have hated it enough to erase all traces (because I still have the words), while not liking it enough to preserve it in some other way. It’s getting posted here because, a) I’m not going to use it, and b) I’m attempting to acclimatize myself to exposing my writing. For the latter purpose, it helps that I already know it’s crap. Odd.

The first paragraph is boring. Why was I going on about sandwiches and coffee? There’s a level of detail I’m still trying to hit, a balance between realism and pertinence, that seems to be an itty-bitty, moving target. Basically, I couldn’t see myself surviving an interrogation while hungover without a sandwich, so I couldn’t see my protagonist managing it either. But honestly, was it necessary?

Then there’s the second paragraph, with my protag’s internal monologue that’s somehow painfully generic. Internal monologue hard.

And don’t get me started on the third paragraph, which seems to dive into the shades of “purple”, with a hint of cliche melodrama to really wreck the taste.

Ack. Cringe.

One thing I was trying to do was put my every-person protag into a position out of her depth, and then give the impression she was learning to tread water pretty damn well on the fly–this is the first crisis of an ordinary existence that’s only going to get less ordinary. An unexpected but not too revealing competence is important, and I think this section sort of manages that.

And I like the “lizard-brain synapses.” Even if I decided I wasn’t using the reference properly and dispatched them to the cutting room floor.