Writing Advice: Self-Editing Tip #5 – Save for Later

One of the hardest things about self-editing is deleting. A word, a sentence, a paragraph, a page, a scene, a chapter — doesn’t matter how long. You wrote it and you want to keep it. Unfortunately, you can’t, not if you want your story to be better.

One of the tricks I’ve learned to soften the blow is to create a text file of deleted text. Anything over a few sentences, gets copy-and-pasted into a text file. I create one file per book and separate the passages with asterisks. It doesn’t matter about the order. My concern is keeping what was deleted on the off chance that I might want to put it back and/or use it as reference to rewrite the scene so it’s better.

Deleting a paragraph, a scene, a chapter doesn’t have to mean throwing away your work if you save it in a text file. Maybe the scene you cut didn’t make it into this book but you can use it in another book or just save it as a fond memory. Whatever the case might be, it isn’t gone so you don’t have to feel bad cutting it.

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