Wednesday, May 06, 2009

What Is Not There Now Is

Last week the discussion revolved around footnotes, endnotes, and other forms of annotation possible with e-books.  It ended with mention of DVD-style extras, such as deleted scenes, and ancillary information in novels.  The first question the idea of deleted scenes being shipped out with a book is why?  If the scene was worthy of inclusion in the book why is it not directly included?  There are a few reasons for this.  In writing circles there is something referred to as killing your darlings.  It is something that comes in up when authors are asked about how they write, and editors in what they do beyond error checking and sprucing up with a word change here and there.  It refers to cutting out your favourite scenes in your books because though they are cool they do not serve a purpose.

The caveat usually missing from these discussions is that there have to be many times where an author's favourite, darling, scene does serve a purpose and thus would not be cut out.  In general there is a second flaw to these discussions; the usefulness of scenes is equated to the plot.  Not every scene needs to be important to the plot and were it so things such character development and defining important parts of the setting would be neglected unless they added to the plot immediately.  Pacing is another factor that can be important rather than focusing the direction of everything toward the plot in what is usually an increasing frenzy.  Raising the bar on tension and action is a powerful tool for an author but contrast and breathing space shouldn't be neglected either.

Beyond non-plot involvement these deleted scenes may have been deleted because they affected the pacing of the story.  Movies often cut scenes to fit a specific run time, or because they slow down the pace.  On a different tangent the events showed too much too soon, were too intense, or otherwise were better suited until later in the narrative, but of course are tied to events in their original position.  These deleted scenes are included in the extras because the director likes them.  They are interesting or they add a new dimension to the story.  Dimension adding options can include features like sub-plots, and bits of characterisation not pertinent to the plot.  Come back next week and get closer to the answer to why include these scenes outside of the natural flow of the story?

Mood: even.
Music: Hallucinate by Def Leppard and Mama Weer All Crazee Now by Quiet Riot.

Def Leppard: Songs From The Sparkle Lounge
Or get MP3s.
Now at Amazon.COM NOT CA.

Buy these at Amazon.com
Click Images to Buy
Quiet Riot: Condition Critical
Or get MP3s.

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