Round Robin – dropped stitches/scenes

Deleting scenes: Do you ever delete scenes? When and why do you delete them? And what do you do with them? Do you save them? Or just toss them? (from and thanks to Marci Baun)

I am a knitter. My Granny taught me to knit when I was 4. I can knit garter or stocking stitch while conductiong a conversation, while appearing in a play, while watching television… But I do, occasionally, drop a stitch.

That’s not the same as deleting a scene, but it does leave a hole. So does deleting a scene. While knitting, one diverts all one’s attention to the work in hand, rescues the dropped loop, reinstates it on the left-hand needle and tries again.

Deleting a scene comes at the end of a torturous period of trying to convince oneself it is necessary – it does fit there – you like it a lot and it’s your story – drat! It sends the story off on completely the wrong track – you’re a professional – delete it. It isn’t right for the market you’re aiming at.

Occasionally, I let them go off into the electronic trash can, but occasionally, I save them in an out-takes’ file. Here’s one I spent hours agonising over that didn’t make the finished work. It’s lovely to think one or two folk will now read it.

Genni shivered. The heating ran all night at a low level, but it was nearly Christmas and the rooms had been empty for most of the day.

“I was hoping that might be passion,” Paddy said with a passable attempt at nonchalance, “But I think it might be cold. Shall we see if we’ve flooded the bathroom yet?”

They were soon ensconced in the huge bath and Genni shivering again, but with delight as Paddy soaped her all over and gently massaged. Her muscles had been tense with exhaustion and his hands eased the stresses.

“Let me wash your hair,” she said. “I cannot believe how much plaster dust you’ve absorbed.”

You should see the other guy,” Paddy quipped. He turned in the bath and leant back so she could rub shampoo through his hair. When she’d finished, he turned on the spray and passed it back to her so she could rinse the soap out of his hair.

Genni laughed as Paddy wrapped a huge bath sheet around her and rubbed her dry. He followed her through to the bedroom and they fell onto the bed together.

“And now, my little love,” he whispered.

“Yes, now,” she said knowing they were the last words she’d speak for a long time.

I edited this out of Christmas at Maldington House, pub DCThomson My Weekly pocket novels. MW2019 So pleased I’ve found another use for it.

I’ve sold another short novel to DCThomson since I last posted in the Round Robin. I don’t have a date yet, but it’s a Scottish-set Regency and will be out towards the end of the year.

Other writers have a view on this subject, too, and they’re listed below. If you write – do you save or trash?


Dr. Bob Rich

Skye Taylor

Connie Vines

Marci Baun

Victoria Chatham

Beverley Bateman

Fiona McGier

Helena Fairfax

Rhobin L Courtright


Diary of a Writer – July Prompt

Ready for the RNA Gala dinner

July is the month of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s annual conference. We love you loads, Jan Jones. This year, of course, it’s once again digital. However, I thought you might like to be reminded of the enormous support those of us who don’t sell shedloads get from our friends and fellow writers.

It is and long has been a support that translates into a prompt for me. My first published professional story was a competition entry for Edinburgh Writers’ Club. My first performed drama was for a Traverse Theatre’s new writers’ initiative. My first published novel came through entering competitions. My first appearance in an anthology was through Capital Writers.

Capital Collection by [Kate Blackadder, Jane Riddell, Anne Stenhouse, Jennifer Young]

Along the way THE READERS have boosted confidence. There’s nothing quite like that shy question: “When will there be another Regency?” or “Would you think about a piece featuring my character as the main one? She’s so good to play.” AND REVIEWS ARE GOLDDUST. thank you to those who take the time – it is so much appreciated.

My husband and all the family have been behind my efforts and I know I’m lucky there because I’ve seen the pain caused by other halves and families who don’t support or are even embarrassed by a person’s writing.

Editors like the wonderfully supportive Alan Spink at DC Thomson and Maggie Swinburne also of DC Thomson provide great feedback, intelligent insight and prompts.

So as a result of a combination of family support, editorial advice and reader’s requests look out for a Victorian serial and a Scottish regency later in the year.

Short Stories may be calling…

What’s your biggest support, writers? What’s your dearest hope, readers?