Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Outtakes are those scenes or conversations that are cut from the original version of a book, movie, or television program. If you remember the television show Home Improvement, you’ll likely remember the outtakes shown at the end where actors messed up their lines and so forth. 

I think of outtakes in my writing the way I think of purging my closet. 

Don't Judge! You Know We All Need to Purge!
Sometimes clothing pieces are removed they’re because they no longer fit with my wardrobe…or fit me. Sometimes they’re tossed because they’re outdated. And sometimes I kick out portions of the manuscript because, like that crazy shirt I bought on impulse, the words I used were useless and needed to go.

Sometimes the purging is not my choice. When I pitched Breathing on Her Own to Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, I proposed an eighty thousand-word novel. As I was finishing the final work with my editor, the publisher decided I should cut the book to sixty thousand words since I was a new author. Those outtakes amounted to twenty thousand words!

In a few short months, Ambassador International Publishing will release Libby’s Cuppa Joe, my second novel. It is the story of a young woman who buys an established coffee shop in Wisconsin’s popular Door County. She makes some life changing decisions –some good and some not so good. 

The editing is complete so I thought it might be fun to share with you a couple of the outtakes from the beginning of the story. I hope you enjoy them. I sprinkled my own comments in for perspective.

#1      “Sonja Parker. What do you know about running a coffee shop?” Fran reached for her tall Styrofoam cup. 
         “Look. I have a latte and you have, what? A caramel something or other? And that little girl who made these drinks has to be like seventeen or eighteen, right?”
         Fran turned her head toward the coffee counter located in the center of the mall. “I’m guessin’ twelve. I mean, really. Look at her.” 
         “My point being, if a high school kid can learn to make this stuff, I can too.” Sonja pulled one of the metal chairs out from under the small round table as the two set their coffees down. “And anyway, I don’t have to learn it all right away. Turns out, Shirley’s Cuppa Joe serves plain old coffee. For now. ”
         “Did you say Shirley’s Cuppa Joe?”
         “Named after the people who owned it. Shirley and Joe Davis.”
         “So what will youcall it? Sonja’s Cuppa Something?”
         “Funny. Actually, I’ll probably keep the name. I’d have to go through a lot to get a new sign, napkins, cups, and all. Anyway, Shirley’s Cuppa Joe is established and making money. No need to rock the boat right away. My dad says I should just keep the status quo until I get a feel for the business.” 
Fran wiped a drop of coffee from the table. “So if this place was doing so well, why are they selling it?”

Comment: Good question. I mean why sell if it is successful? And by the way, if you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know the coffee shop used to be called Shirley’s Cuppa Joe. That was one change I made because my readers told me “Shirley” was outdated…(Sorry Cuz).

#2      Sonja Parker pulled her sweater on and buttoned it closed. The San Diego climate was mild, but the office manager of DW Logistics insisted on keeping the thermostat turned down to a frigid temperature. She picked up the documents on her desk and headed to her manager’s office.
On the way, she dropped a spreadsheet on Fran’s desk. “It’s sixty-eight degrees in here. Aren’t you freezing?”
“I thought people from Wisconsin love the cold.”
“Sixty-eight degrees in Wisconsin calls for a picnic or day at the lake. It’s just that I prefer the cool temperatures to be outside. Not inside my cubicle.”
“Yeah, I know. You’d think we shipped frozen food out of here instead of bathroom fixtures.” Fran nodded toward the closed inner office door. “Tell Percy to kick up the heat while you’re in there.” 
 Sonja knocked lightly before poking her head in the manager’s office. She wondered how Percy would react to the notice she held in her hand. Would he miss her or merely be upset that he now had a little over three weeks to replace her?
Sonja swallowed hard. The gnawing feeling in the pit of her stomach seemed to flip over and land hard as she turn the handle. Fran would call it a sign. If she knew what I’m about to do. Maybe I’m making a mistake. A big mistake.

Part of my own "backstory."
But nobody really needs to see Tom's shirt
and my matching dress from Maui. 
Comment: I eliminated these two pieces because they are essentially “backstory.” Kind of like the clothes I keep because they are from my youth or hold memories for me.  Like the Hawaiian shirt and matching dress pictured here. The backstory details don't always have to be shown in a story. 

My readers will find out soon enough that Sonja is moving back to Wisconsin from San Diego. They’ll understand she is making a career change without me telling them. 

So what do you think so far? Want more? Be sure ot comment. I’ll be sure to respond. 

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