Skip to content

Save your scraps

You never know when you’ll want them back.

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

When you're writing, get in the habit of saving the pieces you cut—lines of dialogue, bits of action and description, or entire paragraphs and chapters. Put them at the bottom of the page or in another file.

You may never use them, but it's always nice to have them saved somewhere for the possibility you need them later. It allows you to go back and find that favourite phrasing or fun back-and-forth between your characters.

Same thing with drafts. If you ever feel like the writing is going in a different direction or you're making significant changes to the piece you are working on, save a copy, label it as a new version and move on.

I do this often when writing stories and these blog posts. I'll do a clunky first draft, with free-writing and failed beginnings, then save it as a v2 before rewriting or proofreading it. Depending on the day, I may end up with three or four versions before it is finished.

Again, you may never use it, but it's always nice to have it in case you do. And if anything, it's a lovely record of your writing growing to fruition.


David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


Related Posts

Members Public

What's it for?

Seth Godin recently asked two questions in a blog post: "Who's it for? What's it for?" When writing, do you know who it's for? It doesn't have to be an audience with a capital "A." It doesn't have to be for any audience; it can be for just you. But

Members Public

Journey with your characters

Most people can't have the whole story in their heads. Too many pieces, too many moving parts. That doesn't mean you must plan it out. Once your character's story takes shape, then begin. Allow yourself to be surprised and adapt, and let your imagination take you on a journey. That

Members Public

The lies our characters tell themselves

Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon tells the story of a priest and woodcutter trying to understand a murder by listening to the testimonies of the multiple people involved. Ultimately, they struggle to find the truth amongst the lies. A similar type of story occurs within each of us. We tell ourselves multiple