There have been so many deleted scenes from my debut, THE TIGER MOM’S TALE, which comes out in just 5 short weeks. I wrote the first draft of this book in 2015, and then completely re-wrote it in 2018. It is the story of a biracial personal trainer, Lexa, living in NYC, and having to confront her Taiwanese heritage which she’s mostly ignored, when her estranged Taiwanese father passes away suddenly.
In the first draft, it was full of the antic’s of Lexa’s clients. And while some of those scenes were hilarious, I realized that they ultimately didn’t move the story forward or contribute to Lexa’s character development and sadly, many of my favorite scenes were deleted. But I saved them in a file that I called, appropriately, Deleted Scenes, and I think some of them are going to make a comeback in my third adult Women’s Fiction book. So one word of advice, even if you have to “kill your darlings,” don’t delete them. Save them because you never know when you can pirate your own words from a previous book to be used in a new book.
In the first draft, I also had many scenes of Lexa dating in the NYC scene. Again, many were hilarious (and actually happened to me when I was single and living in NYC), but ultimately, most of them were chopped. I did keep one of my favorite scenes though, when Lexa is confronted with “yellow fever” and goes on a date with a man who fetishizes Asian women. Again, this scene was taken from an actual date I had back in my dating years (although I didn’t dump my drink in his lap like Lexa did – I only wished I had, so I had Lexa do it for me years later).
How do I know what I need to cut? Because as someone once told me, if a scene or character does nothing to move the story or plot forward, or give us character development into the main characters, cut, cut, cut. This will tighten up the pacing and move the story along, so that people will want to keep turning pages, instead of wondering why we stuck a scene that doesn’t really do anything into the book.
The Tiger Mom’s Tale is a dual timeline, going from present day back to more than twenty years ago, when something happened to Lexa that has kept her from returning to Taiwan. A lot of the past scenes were also deleted, because I realized I explained them in the present, so there was no need to repeat the info again. My agent helped to point out many of these extra scenes and she was right (she is very wise). By deleting them, it really picked up the pace and I realized they were dragging the storyline down.
I love editing and revising. For me, the first draft is always the hardest to get down. But once I have that first messy draft, diving into edits, deciding what to cut, what to keep, and moving things around so that they flow better, is my favorite part of the writing process. And I can’t wait to share the finished product of my debut, out July 6, 2021. It’s almost here!!!
Lyn Liao Butler
Latest posts by Lyn Liao Butler (see all)
- All the Scenes That Never Made It Into The Tiger Mom’s Tale - Tuesday, June 1, 2021
- How Lyn Plots Out First Drafts - Friday, May 14, 2021
- Interview with Olivia Blacke, author of KILLER CONTENT and NO MEMES OF ESCAPE - Wednesday, May 5, 2021
- Lyn’s Favorite Indie Bookstores - Friday, April 23, 2021
- My Author Brand is Bloopers - Monday, April 5, 2021