Cut It Out

When I wrote and revised Temper, I didn’t only delete scenes, I deleted an entire character. The book used to include another supporting character named Sophie, who was a playwright and engaged to marry Malcolm (I know, what the hell was she thinking??). The whole first draft included her, and I even wrote about 30,000 words in her POV before jettisoning her in favor of Joanna. Having Sophie in the mix made the central conflict in the book less a clash of rival artistic ambitions and more a catfight over a cheating asshole, which needless to say was not the vibe I was after. Deleting her and expanding Joanna’s role is the best thing I ever did for the book.

There were a couple other memorable scenes from Temper that ended up in the Scrivener trash bin too. One involved Mal taking Kira to a Sleep No More-style immersive theater production at a Lincoln Park mansion where every room contained performance art inspired by a different Shakespeare play. It was fun to dream up, but ultimately too complicated, especially since the main point of the scene was just to force the two of them to press up against each other in the dark (and I found plenty of other ways to accomplish that…).

My very favorite deleted scene, which I stubbornly held onto until quite late in the revision process, involved Kira angrily masturbating while having an elaborate hate-sex fantasy about Mal. It was hot as hell, but completely murdered the pace in that part of the book, and also weirdly let the air out of their sexual tension rather than ramping it up. So it had to go, but I’ll always remember it fondly! To make up for it I’m writing way more sex scenes in my second book—get psyched!

Author: Layne Fargo

Layne Fargo is a thriller author with a background in theater and library science. She’s a Pitch Wars mentor, a member of the Chicagoland chapter of Sisters in Crime, and the cocreator of the podcast Unlikeable Female Characters. Layne lives in Chicago with her partner and their pets.

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