Movies are great. And you know what’s better than movies? The outtake reel at the end. Even in our digital age, when nothing is physically cut any longer, we still get to see these gems. But in books, when something is cut, it’s gone forever.
So, why are there no pages of removed scenes at the end of books? Is it because readers would hate them? As a reader, I don’t think so. I wonder how many gems have been cut from my favorite books. I bet I’d like them.
Even in my infancy as a writer, I’ve noticed that there seems to be two types of writers: Those who don’t want to cut any full scenes, and those who cut mercilessly as edits suggest it. So far, I’ve cut mercilessly. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t value what I’ve cut. It just means the scenes didn’t fit well in my work.
So now here’s my own outtake, a rough draft of a short story within my novel that didn’t make the cut. I hope you enjoy it:
There were once two sisters, who grew twice the size of regular girls.Their mother tried her best to take care of them, and she managed until they could walk. By the time they were five, they no longer fit in their mother’s house, so they camped outside. By ten, they ‘d run through the town, pushing over buildings and eating entire gardens.
Finally, the women of the town went to the mother and told her the sisters had to leave. They were no longer welcome. The mother sat her large girls down and explained to them that they had grown too big for their home, and their village. She told them adventure stories of the forest, and reassured them that they’d have more fun playing in the trees
Excited, the girls scooped up their mother and carried her to the forest. Once they reached the edge, their mother ordered them to put her down. She wasn’t going with them.
The girls cried and begged her to come. She refused and told them that she was too old to live in the woods, but promised she would visit them on Sundays. Reluctantly, the girls told their mother goodbye and set out through the wilderness.
Every Sunday, their mother would meet them at the edge of the forest, bringing snacks and stories from town. The girls made her lovely gifts out of tree branches, flowers, and other things they found in the forest. This went on for years, until the mother fell ill and was too weak to walk to the forest.
That Sunday, the girls came to the edge of the forest and waited. Their mother never came. The sat on a grassy knoll next to the forest and waited until it was dark. They cried and called out for their mother. Silence answered them. One of them thought she could remember her way to the town. They walked and walked, but never found their mother’s house.
The sister came back to the knoll and sobbed for their mother. A windstorm came, blowing dust and mud all over them. The girls held hands and remained, waiting on their mother. The sun dried the mud, caking it to their skin. The girls continued to wait. Storms and sun cycled through, each time hardening the girls more and more.
When the mother was well enough, she asked a friend to help her to the forest. She wanted one last visit with her daughters. She crest the knoll and saw her girls sitting perfectly still, holding hands. The mother called out to them and neither moved. When she reached them she touched the smooth sandstone that had become their skin and fell to her knees. The girls had completely turned to stone.