Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Cutting Room Floor

posted by Donna MacMeans


The plan when I write is to have a finished book that reads smoothly from begining to end. However, often the actual writing has a few twists and turns in it that end up on the cutting room floor. I've been fortunate that in most cases, I only cut a few lines here and there (LOL- "enough" few lines to make up maybe thirty pages of so), but REDEEMING THE ROGUE was different. I began with a different vision for that book - a vision with which my editor disagreed.

You see, I envisioned my Irish rogue hero kidnapping my heroine. He needed someone to serve as a hostess for him in America as well as someone familiar with diplomats and all their falderal. The heroine served both purposes - plus rumor had it that she'd already been compromised. She'd be perfect for his purposes - why not kidnap her?

Unfortunately, I'd already written well over a hundred pages or so when my editor nixed the kidnapping. She suggested a "small" change that pretty much meant that only the first chapter could remain with some editing.

Now I'm not complaining. I think the editor's suggestion made REDEEMING THE ROGUE a stronger book - but man, I hate to throw out a hundred pages of creative work!

So I'm not. I'm putting up some of the deleted scenes on my website. Here's a part of one such scene. Let me set it up for you.

Rafferty, the hero, has kidnapped Lady Arianne as he knows she’d be the perfect person to teach him what he needs to know to impersonate a diplomat. He’s locked her into his room on a masted schooner until they're far enough away that she won't be able to signal for help. He’s provided clothes for her to wear thanks to some generous ladies of the evening near the docks (grin) but they aren’t as nice as the clothes she’s wearing. Arianne undresses so as to preserve what she has. Then she explores Rafferty's cabin and finds his gun.

While Rafferty feels guilty about what he’s done, this was the only way he could think of to force her to marry him and be his hostess. Rumor has it she’s been ruined anyway, so she may come to look favorably on his actions…eventually. His friend (and stage magician) Phineas suggests that Rafferty try kindness to woo her cooperation. So he does…

Michael leaned against the wall in the narrow hallway outside his cabin and ran a hand around his freshly shaved chin, wondering if she’d notice. On Phineas’s council, he’d donned an evening vest and his freshly mended frock coat with the intent of wooing the woman who wanted no part of him. Not that he could blame her. She was accustomed to a more lavish life than he could offer. She’d been tricked to make this journey with him, as he was convinced she wouldn’t have chosen to come with a lowly Irish gent she felt was devoid of money and title. But she would come around, he told himself. If they could just have a civil conversation, she’d understand the importance of this mission and her vital role in it. If she would just…

The door slowly opened. Her swollen red eyelids made his heart clench. He hadn’t meant to hurt her, not in that way, not in a way that would draw tears. But then, who could blame her? He’d closed off her options leaving only one distasteful alternative – him.

Then his gaze shifted and all thoughts of her vulnerability vanished. The trembling barrel of his own British Bulldog revolver was pointed directly at his chest.

Blasted bleatin’ bloody hell!

He raised a brow, careful to keep anxiety off his face and out of his voice. “I see you’ve been busy.”

“Turn the boat around.”

“I can’t do that.” He kept his voice soft and low. “The Queen has been threatened by the Fenians. Lord Wessex has been murdered, most likely by the Fenians. The leaders are in America.” He held her gaze so she’d recognize his determination. “I may be just a stubborn Irishman, but I won’t turn back.”

Rafferty studied her face. Did she realize that he kept the gun loaded for emergencies? He never considered the revolver would be used on him. Her knuckles whitened in their tight grasp of a paisley shawl at her chin. He cocked his head. “Why do you want to return? It seems to me the damage has been done. Do you think London will overlook this brief venture? Do you think they’ll forget about Vienna, once gossip reaches London? And most assuredly it

will. Gossip always does.”

“I’m warning you,” she said, her voice quavered much like the revolver barrel. “Take me back home.”

He stepped forward, forcing her to either step back or push the gun barrel into his brocade vest. She chose the former. “No one knows you in America.” He backed her into the room. “If you don’t want to marry, we can still pretend to be man and wife. No one will suspect otherwise.”

The gun wobbled badly. “Don’t come any closer. I’ll shoot.”

As if to punctuate her intent, she abandoned the deathgrip on the shawl, thus adding a second hand to keeping the barrel aimed straight at his chest. His face must have betrayed the spark of interest in the expanse of skin exposed as the shawl separated. Blessed God in Heaven, was she naked underneath?

She gasped and returned the hand to hold the shawl closed.

He smiled. If she was more concerned with preserving her dignity than placing a hole through his chest, perhaps her intent was not as serious as appearances indicated.

“Do you think I’d be so foolish as to keep a loaded gun in my cabin for anyone to find?”

Doubt slipped across her face. He chanced another step forward, as proof of his stated conviction. As the Bulldog’s barrel extended only a few inches, he was close enough to smell her latest floral concoction, this one reminiscent of damp earth. He fought the distraction, but took a deep breath anyway, drawing her essence into his lungs.

“Patchouli,” he stated, as if they were sharing dinner conversation. “It reminds me of Ireland.”

She frowned, confused. Good. She was distracted. He dropped his voice to intimate levels. “Did you find the bullets? Do you know how to load a pistol?” She gnawed her luscious lower lip. He held out his hand and whispered. “Hand me the gun, Arianne.”

They stood in a stalemate. He with his hand outstretched, she with the gun. He had to admire her courage. Phineas was right, damn his eyes, the woman was not afraid to make her own decisions – even if they were the wrong ones.

He noted the moment her attention shifted. Within seconds he took advantage of the opportunity and grabbed the weapon from her hand. Only then did he glance toward the floor to see what had claimed her notice. A fat mound of white fur quietly hopped into the cabin.

“It’s a rabbit,” she said, awe in her voice. “Why is a rabbit hopping about a boat in the middle of the ocean?”

He didn’t bother to correct her. They had a long trip before them to reach the middle of anything. “I suspect that’s Phineas’s doing.” Michael broke the revolver apart, barrel down, to remove five bullets from the cylinder, then placed them in his pocket. “He likes to practice his magic before the props become Sunday supper.”

(The full deleted scene is on www.DonnaMacMeans.com. Click on extras.)

So my question to you - do you have thoughts regarding fictional romantic kidnappings, pro or con? Are you interested in reading deleted scenes? (I have, after all, one hundred pages of them.) Or do they make the story more confusing? For example - I had to change the method of transportation with the editor's suggestion. You won't find a schooner in the published version. If you're a writer, do you have scads of scenes on the cutting room floor?Let's chat and I'll give away a copy of REDEEMING THE ROGUE to someone leaving a comment.

Oh - and I'm chatting on Canned Laughter and Coffee tonight with Renee Bernard - a broadcast internet interview. It starts at 8:30 pm EST, and as an individual who suffers from foot-in-mouth disease - I'm terrified what will come out (grin). If you're so inclined, drop in for a listen.

42 comments:

Nancy said...

Donna, I love this scene! I do enjoy reading deleted scenes, and I've deleted many of my own. Many.

I'm so looking forward to reading this book. It's going with me on a trip soon. I'll be comparing the pubbed version to the original. :-)

Nancy said...

Oh, I got the rooster--he can help dust and do laundry!

Donna MacMeans said...

Oh Nancy - If I could get the rooster to do that, I'd never let him leave Columbus (grin). So glad you liked the scene. i thought it was gone forever when my laptop died. Thank God for flash drives.

jennifertanner said...

Hello, Donna!

I'm raising my hand! Complete chapters in the junkyard file.

I'm glad you were able to salvage the scene and put it on your site. Your fans will definitely appreciate the gesture.

Congrats on the Wooster, Nancy!

Donna MacMeans said...

Jennifer -

This was the first time I've had to cut entire chapters - man that hurts!! The big problem was that one little change --changed everything.

Minna said...

Well, I certainly don't mind reading deleted scenes.

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Nancy.

Hey Donna,
I love the thought of reading deleted scenes. I always watch the deleted scenes that included in the DVD version of movies. Always fun to see what was left out of the movie.

Sheree said...

Yes to deleted scenes! Fictional romantic kidnappings, well, it depends.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Minna - Sounds like it's not something you look for, though. Any thoughts on kidnappings?

Donna MacMeans said...

jane -

I like watching the deleted scenes as well - especially since I saw that they cut the scene of Huge Jackman in the bathtub of Kate & Leopold. Yes, after seeing that I became a real fan of watching deleted scenes (grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

Sheree -

You are noncommital on the fictional romantic kidnappings...what bothers you about them?

marybelle said...

I do enjoy kidnappings. They add an extra pinch of spice. I'm not sure about reading deleted scenes, I may have trouble placing them.

Jo's Daughter said...

I really like the scene, including the rabbit! Shame it had to go, but I'm sure it's for the best.

If the hero is doing the kidnapping and they get together through a great love, a kidnapping is ok with me :D Or if the hero saves her from a kidnapping that's also "exciting".

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I like deleted scenes, gives you an idea of how the writer's mind works.

Helen said...

Well done Nancy I do hope you can get him to work today.

Donna

I got your book in the mail the other day from the Book Depositry and it is next on my list and looking forward to it and yes I love scenes that have been cut I did love that scene I want to know more about the rabbit LOL.

Have Fun
Helen

Sonali said...

I love reading and watching deleted scenes. I think they give extra information and show the various twists and turns the story could have taken. Moreover if im reading a book or watching a movie and im sad to see it come to an end because i enjoyed it so much, the deleted scenes are there to give me hope that more is coming and that it hasn't all ended.

Donna MacMeans said...

Marybelle -
Sounds like you & I think alike! I like kidnappings as they add a certain tension between her hero and heroine. Maybe they work better in a medieval type setting, though, then in a more modern story.

I think I might have a similar problem with a deleted scene, though placing it in a movie has never been a problem.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Jo's Daughter!

I liked the rabbit too - it was so unexpected. When I was writing the scene, I sat there and thought - how it the heck am I going to break this stalemate? And this rabbit just hopped in through the door. :)

My kidnapping was selfishly motivated by the hero, though he honestly believed it would be in the heroine's best interest as well. They would have eventually fallen in love, but they would had some major trust hurdles to overcome.

Donna MacMeans said...

Diana -

LOL - Well, that's what I'm afraid of. Readers will discover this cavernous empty space with occasional echoes bouncing about.

Donna MacMeans said...

Helen - Sorry Helen, the rabbit's fate will have to remain a mystery (grin). I don't plot beforehand, and as the rabbit was still ... hopping at the end of the 100 pages, I'm not sure what happened to him.

Hope you enjoy Redeeming the Rogue. Let me know!

Donna MacMeans said...

Sonali -

I hope you enjoy this one. I'll have to check the discarded file to see if there's any more I can pull out. There should be. I guess part of my fear is that a deleted scene might encourage someone to read the book and then be disappointed to find the scene not there. Oh well....

PJ said...

Congrats, Nancy!

Having already read (and loved) Redeeming the Rogue, it was interesting to read your deleted scene and find out what you had originally planned for this couple. While I enjoy fictional kidnappings (just read a good one), I have to agree with your editor on this one. I much prefer the non-kidnap version of Rafferty and Arianne's story.

Of course, had I read the kidnap version first, there's a very good chance I'd say that's the one I prefer! *grin*

Donna MacMeans said...

P.J. -

Yeah, I think my editor made the right call - though it made me work a lot harder. I just wish she had made the call earlier in the process (big grin).

Thanks for the love on Redeeming the Rogue!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey! Nancy! You caught the chookie! Grins.

Donna, can't WAIT to read this book. I love the deleted scenes, and had to LOL about "the cutting room floor" concept.

Grins.

Donna MacMeans said...

Jeanne -

My editor has suggested posting deleted scenes before but it didn't realize I was writing them at the time. LOL I changed computers between the first and second proposals and thought the scenes from the first proposal were gone forever. Just found them on this flash drive last week.

Nancy said...

Donna, the secret to getting work out of the GR us having a larger pet he fears!

I especially like kidnapping plots when they don't go quite as the hero expects.

Nancy said...

Jane, I like deleted scenes on DVD, too, especially if they run more than a few seconds.

catslady said...

To be honest, I'm not really sure lol. The only deleted scenes that I have seen are the mistakes and those I love because they are so funny. On the other hand, I know I get very upset when I see a movies after reading the book and they've left things out or worse yet, changed them. So maybe I'm better off not knowing lol.

Donna MacMeans said...

Nancy - Well my plan was for this one not to go at all as the hero expected...but we'll never see that LOL.

I like the deleted scenes on DVDs when the director explains why they cut the scene. So many times it parallels the sort of questions we ask ourselves in revising a book - does it move the plot forward? Is it too repetitious? Etc.

But cutting the naked Hugh Jackman scene in Kate & Leopold had no basis in sanity IMO. (grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

Catslady -

The books are always better. Hands down. I don't even expect the movies to come close because they can't do the internal stuff the way a book can.

Sometimes, though, they really destroy it. The Firm, for example, mirrors the book in concept, but deviates far too much with the plot.

Thanks for an interesting take on the value of deleted scenes.

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, not often you get the chook!

Donna, what a fun scene. By the way, I got an email from Rhapsody book club today and Redeeming the Rogue was all over the side margin! Yay!

Kidnappings? Nah, no problem with those at all! Snicker!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Congrats on the GR, Nancy! Getting work out of him is a whole chore in and of itself. :-P

FUN scene, Donna! I certainly hope the rabbit didn't hop over to Suz's book! ACK!

As for kidnappings, since I happen to employ them in my own work, I gotta say that I like them... when done WELL, of course! ;-)

AC

Donna MacMeans said...

Anna - How cool is that! Gotta love Rhapsody book club (which is a good reminder for me to put in an order. I love those hard covers).

I was a little surprised by the editor's dismissal, but as I said, I think it resulted in a stronger book...even if I had to change the method of transportation across the Atlantic (grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey AC!

LOL - Perhaps it was Suz's rabbit that inspired the appearance in my book...or at least this scene. So where will it pop up next? Any guesses?

Kate Carlisle said...

Hey Donna! Great post! I like reading deleted scenes. I think it'll be fun for your fans to have an alternate opening to the book.

PS, I've got the book sitting right here waiting as my reward for when I meet my latest deadline, so now I'll get to compare and contrast the stories. :-)

Of course, if Michael Rafferty had kidnapped the heroine, your title might've had to change to something like *REVENGE* OF THE ROGUE instead of REDEEMING THE ROGUE. :-)

Way to go, Nancy! Hope he got some work done for you!

jo robertson said...

Very interesting, Donna! I'm reading RTR right now, but I have to say that I also like the "cut" scenes.

I think kidnapping scenes are great, but a writer has to be very careful that there's a "fair seduction" involved too.

This is a great scene!

Donna MacMeans said...

Kate - This was one where I picked the title first, then wrote the book. LOL I figured he'd need extra redeeming if he kidnapped the heroine. She would make him pay for that injustice to be sure. (grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Jo - Did you get the read the first version? I know you read the opening to the second, but I can't remember if you read the first.

Anyway - I do hope you like what I did with the story.

Pissenlit said...

Hee hee hee! Bunny!

I don't particularly have much of an opinion on fictional romantic kidnappings. I don't hate them and I don't love them. They're okay, I guess if the kidnapping's done uh...right. I'm with Jo on the "fair seduction" bit.

I love deleted scenes! I'm always up for extra time with the characters. More story! More story! :D

flchen1 said...

Donna, I love it when authors share deleted scenes as extras, either when they blog visit or on their websites! It's a lot of fun to see what other directions they might have taken or what kinds of things ended up changing! How fun!!

Donna MacMeans said...

Pissenlit and fichen1

Glad to hear you like deleted scenes. Makes me feel better about posting them. I always wondered if that would be a good thing or not.

Cathy P said...

Hi Donna! Redeeming the Rogue sounds like a great book. Looking forward to reading it. In reference to kidnapping, I think it is good if the hero is gentle and his heart and thoughts are in the right place. Also, if he saves the heroine from a bad kidnapper, I love it.

As far as deleted scenes go, I absolutely love them! In fact, the more the better!