Because I can?

The other day I was walking with the kids, and my daughter picked a dandelion puff, blowing as hard as she could and sending the little sprays everywhere. Immediately I thought of a line I had written in my first novel, in a section that had been cut – but oh – what a line!

It had never occurred to me until that moment to take that line and use it in another piece of work. The instant I thought it, I felt like I’d been caught cheating. But why? I asked myself, after all I had created it, why not use it somewhere else?

I’ve been thinking about this situation a little, and somehow it still doesn’t feel right. I wouldn’t object to another writing doing it, not at all, it actually makes sense to do so, but for time being I just don’t think I can. It was created in one context, for one moment, for one scene. I couldn’t remove it and use it elsewhere.

Would you use a phrase you wrote in one piece  – one that had no use any longer because of the slash – in another piece of work?

14 thoughts on “Because I can?

  1. I would use setting description (for example, a particularly lovely sunset) that’s no longer relevant in the original story if it fits in another story. Anything else? I’m not sure.

  2. What an interesting question. I don’t remember doing this, but I think I would. The only way I would be reluctant is if I still had hopes of using it in the original work … say, if that original piece had failed, but I hoped to completely rework it.

    Btw, I keep all my cut bits, just in case.

    1. I too try to keep it all, but I never go through it. Do you? I have thought about from time to time – should I go back and read what I cut. It kind of seems like moving backwards, but then again, sometimes we can mistakes and cut the wrong thing.

      1. I just read Ev’s comment in my reader and it reminded me I never responded to your question. Yes, I do go through my cut bits file. Always while I’m writing that particular piece because once in awhile I find that it didn’t work where I originally placed it, but it does work at a different spot.

        Also, like Ev said, sometimes the cut bits spark an idea for a new piece.

  3. I’ve done that before… If it fits, if it feels right… then why not?
    I wouldn’t plant it there though, it should feel organic, like it was written for that story so just make sure it sounds OK and if it does, that means you’ve found a new home for your darling 🙂

  4. To echo Linda, what an interesting question. I don’t think I could because it would likely be good line as it related to a particular character or circumstance. Although, I think I could see using it to launch a new story.

  5. Absolutely, I do! I have a whole file actually called “cut bits” where I stash scenes or snippets or lines that for some reason don’t fit what I’m working with, but that I’m sure (or hope!) will fit into some other WIP or be the “story starter” for another.

    1. That’s confidence, ev! good for you! I think I am too much of a stickler that things need to stay the way they are – not just in writing, but in life. Which is funny because I love growth and change. doesn’t make sense…

      great to see you!

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