Cutting What Needs to be Cut: A Deleted Scene from Honor in the Night

In a previous post, “The Long, Strange Voyage of a Novella from Pitch to Publication”, I mentioned cutting a scene while revising the opening of my Star Trek: Myriad Universes novella Honor in the Night . . . at least eventually. The inimitable Bill Leisner had given me some great notes on the manuscript when I first completed it, and I incorporated all of them except for his comments on the opening. There were two reasons: my contracted due date was rushing at me, and I liked one of the scenes he was suggesting I cut.

Flash forward past all the delays to when the book started moving into production again. I’d had a long time to get some distance from it, so since I had one more chance to review and revise, I took a close look at the opening scene. Yep, it had to go.

I’d had a reason for the scene. Since this is an alternate time line, I wanted to craft a bit of the context for readers before plunging them into the changed universe. I came up with a little character bit between McCoy and a chauffeur. I liked McCoy’s dialogue, I liked the description of Nice, I liked the details about the car (tip of the hat to one of my oldest friends and diehard car guy, Jeff Ford of AutoRestoMod for some great feedback on that and the rest of the manuscript as well) . . . but, come on, it was still mostly a guy riding in a car. Not very gripping. I chopped it out, decided what tidbits needed to be in the story, and sprinkled those back in after starting the story where it needed to start, with McCoy at the side of his friend’s deathbed.

I’m so glad I made this cut. You just have to do this, no matter what sort of fondness you may have developed for something you’ve written. If it’s not serving the story, out it goes.

So, for those of you who always look for deleted scenes when you pick up a new DVD, I’m going to share this clip from the cutting room floor. Like a lot of deleted scenes, it’s got some nice stuff in it, but it deserved to get the scissors. Click here to read it!

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