VBT: Snips Happen
Welcome to Week Fourteen of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
This week, we’re all discussing Deleted Scenes in our novels and our guest is a returning superstar – Scott Seldon! He’s the sci-fi writer and the author of two books (available at his Smashwords page), “Well of Dreams”, a novel, and “Edge of Hyperspace”, a collection of short stories.
Check out his musings about the words he’s had to delete in the pursuit of his writing dreams and a sample of a whole novel which has been discarded, proving that even to the best of writers – Snips Happen!
Without further ado… Scott Seldon!
One of my favorite things about DVD’s has been the inclusion of deleted scenes. It has gotten to the point where I feel gipped if there aren’t any. But I haven’t come across many instances from our written media. I think it is time to share what I can of my deleted material.
First I should explain that I strive to emulate two of my favorite writers, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, in how I write. Not so much in style and voice as in process. As a result, I don’t have any deleted scenes from any of my books to share. I don’t plan the stories out in advance, but I do plot them out in my head before I ever commit the words to the page. As a result any potential deleted scenes were cut long before they were written.
That said, I do have a treat in store for you. Rather than deleted scenes, I have my first novel. It has certain structural issues and ended up dealing with a topic I think better left unpublished. It is not my first writing project by any means, but it was my first attempt at a story that exceeded 20,000 words. The important thing is not what the story was about, but that it gave birth to my Galactic Confederation universe and the Zaran family. This story laid out the architecture I’ve proceeded to build on.
I have often made reference to the scene that started it all and that seems to be the most appropriate part of my shelved novel to share. So, without further ado, here is the opening to Starlight Course, a scene that was deleted along with the rest of the novel.
The smooth vibration of the deck was disturbed by a sudden jolt as the engines surged. Mishka looked over at the auxiliary flight control display in his quarters. No change in settings. It must be that damned pressure valve. He’d have to get it replaced when he stopped off at Quetle Station. Mishka rolled back to a comfortable position and let the sounds of his ship lull him back to sleep.
He awoke later as his sleep period was about to end. He shut off the alarm and got out of his cot and went through his morning rituals. In space, though, morning was fluid. Mishka kept to his home planet’s 28 hour day, even though he didn’t remember living there, and stayed on the same time he was born to. Sometimes that made keeping appointments a bit of a pain, but he managed. It gave him a sense of home when his home was really an eighty-year-old trade ship that he dearly loved.
As he entered the cockpit, the lights came on and the controls activated. “Good morning, Darling,” he said.
“Good morning,” the ship’s computer responded in a pleasant female voice. “I’ve had to compensate for the primary fuel pressure valve eight times.”
“It woke me up every time. How long till we get to Quetle?”
“We have just passed their outer marker. Current ETA is 25 minutes.”
“That’s fine.” He sat at the controls and punched up a detailed report on the valve trouble. As he studied it, the ship closed in on Quetle Station. At first the station was just a point of light barely distinguishable from the stars through the view port. But as they approached it, it grew into a sprawling complex floating in space. It had been added to so many times that its original design was lost amid the clutter. It had atmospheric domes and docking bays for both recreation and work uses. A large liner was currently hogging most of the repair spaces.
“Excuse me, Mishka,” the computer started, “The port authority wishes to speak to you.”
“Put him on.”
“Captain Zaran?” a gravelly and obviously translated voice said.
“We need to verify the information your AI gave us.”
“Ship’s name, Nova Trango. Registry, Leywan 467232-J6. Captain, Mishka Zaran. Ship type, Leywanese class four light cargo.”
“Please state your business on our station.”
“I have a cargo of Daris fruit for Senator Kaimler and I need to make some minor repairs.”
“You are cleared to proceed to bay 6770. Make arrangements with the bay supervisor for any repairs you need. You are cleared for forty-eight hours. Enjoy your stay.”
The channel went dead and Mishka shook his head. “Typical PA lackey.”
“I have observed such behavior from most public officials. Perhaps it is because they don’t get paid enough and have so much to do?”
“My darling Nova,” Mishka said as he patted the console, “I think you have put it perfectly. That’s why I spend all my time with you.”
“Hm…,” the computer responded, “then perhaps I should cancel your date for tonight?”
“No, no, no. I think maybe I should keep it.”
Scott Seldon lives with his family in Colorado and works as an IT administrator. Visit his website for the latest updates and to find where his books are sold. Watch for his upcoming novel, Pirates of I’ab, at your favorite ebook retailer.
Thanks to the returning champion, Scott Seldon, for sharing his experience with deleted scenes (okay, a whole 20k word novella!) and that snippet. What do you think about deleting scenes? Do you, like me, keep deleted stuff in a separate file just in case or just slash ’em and forget ’em? Would you like to see a collection of ‘deleted scenes’ released at some point as some sort of bonus swag (like on a DVD)?
Love & Rainbows,
[Editor’s Note: My guest post over at the Natalie Star’s blog can be found HERE!]