As a fun extra for the upcoming publication of Rise of the Snowmen, I’ve decided to post a deleted scene from the novel, a piece that takes place early on from Greg’s perspective.
But first, a bit of background!
Why does the scene switch tenses?
Because I cut this scene, this piece is still in first draft form. What this means is that the words here show the thought process that goes from outline drafting within present tense to dropping into past tense as I picked up the narrative during that writing session.
Had this scene been within the final draft, I would have edited the first half into past tense, removed the repetition, and smoothed out the barrage of telling words, leaning the story to a more limited POV vs. the omniscient narrator (me!) who was talking.
What’s wrong with the scene? Why cut it?
This scene ended up being cut for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I wrote the other side of this scene from Taylor’s perspective and I decided that his side was more powerful and necessary to show because of their character arcs. He’s the one who gets to make a choice during this sequence.
And secondly, I was able to show the emotion Greg feels here in other sequences, so this bit felt too repetitive in a general sense.
Tension loses intensity when it’s too repetitive. Tension also loses intensity when the character isn’t an active participant. In this case, Taylor’s side allows you, my dear reader, to see someone actively struggling against a choice, where Greg’s side…well, you’ll see.
Why haven’t we seen many other deleted scenes from your novels?
Most of the time when I delete sections, they don’t end up this nicely packaged. They’ll be pieces, a few paragraphs here and there, or a fleshed out outline with a bunch of side notes. Or the deleted sequence will have been rewritten in another way and I can only choose one iteration of a plot point to land in the finalized draft. Sometimes a scene completely goes off the rails in a tangent or plot point that I later decide not to use.
Those types of deleted scenes I wouldn’t want to show anyone because it could change the overall feel for a character or introduce a lot of confusion on account of incorrect information.
However, this scene aligns with the general sense of the character and how he was feeling at this point, which makes it a perfect scene to show you, to give you a little insight in how a scene might look long before its final form.
Rise of the Snowmen Deleted Scene: Greg (~Chapter Three)
Greg, sitting alone at the kitchen table with mug in hand. Waiting, for something he isn’t sure. He sips slowly, painfully aware of an ache that is all but sure that Taylor is moving further and further away. All his hints, all his plans, his hopes, his wants and desires, seeming to blend together in a hodge-podge of emotion. He’s choking with it.
But only on the inside, no one can see the pain, for he merely sits there, frozen on the inside, methodical on the outside. The whir of the fridge kicking on and off. The coffee slowly getting colder as his sips get smaller and smaller.
He finally picks up his phone, takes a deep breath and presses the button for Taylor’s contact. Then he waits longer still, until the screen goes black in impatience.
He goes to check the front window, peeking out toward the driveway. Hoping to see that beat-up blue Camry, though not expecting to. The world around the neighborhood is dry and brown, leaves once colorful as they danced in the wind all autumn now lay in rotting brown heaps, gathered about bushes and drains and in every crevice, crook and cranny where they might add their fading selves to the emptiness of winter.
Mandy had been upset last week. She’d wanted the snow. Had cajoled Greg into buying carrot noses and then screamed in horror when he’d bitten off the ends of two of them. She’d gathered the carrots, stuffed them back safely in their bag and hidden them somewhere in the fridge where “he would never, ever find them.” Greg had found them in the hydrator drawer behind an onion and a bag of Parmesan cheese. He’d left them there and told Taylor not to touch them.
Life got quiet when they were both gone. The house too empty. Waiting.
He turned his back on the driveway and glanced at the mantle, where three stockings hung. Taylor’s with an emo skull on it wearing a Santa hat. Mandy had cackled at it. Taylor had even smiled when Greg hung it up, though he hadn’t said a word. He’d left that night though. Greg had gone to tuck Mandy in and by the time he’d finished, Taylor was nothing but headlights in the street. Gone for two days, nothing but single word text messages. Because of a fucking stocking.
Greg abandoned the living room with its bright Christmas decorations and settled once more at his seat at the kitchen table. Tapped his fingers against his phone, one by one by one. Wondering whether he should call, text, or leave Taylor alone.
He’d been hoping for time this morning. A few hours. A few minutes at the very least before Taylor zeroed his focus onto the darker side of Christmas. Or whatever he was doing.
He picked up the phone and pressed call, the action unfocused, but sure. It rang. Rang, but no one was home. Greg hung up, paced the kitchen, set his mug in the sink. Tried again. Nothing but voicemail, not even Taylor’s voice on the other end, just the stock, “You have reached…” He hung up before the mechanical voice could recite the number.
Maybe he wouldn’t come home at all this time.
Greg got to work on a couple last minute presents for Mandy, the candy cane wrapping paper shiny and bright. He had snowmen as well, pale blue background, top hats, cheerful coal faces. A rabbit nibbled at one snowman’s fallen nose. He taped over the scene.
His phone rang just as he placed the wrapped present back in the cardboard box. Taylor. Greg picked up the call.
“Happy anniversary,” he began. “Where’d you run off to this morning?”
No answer. Had that been a beep, a tone, in the middle of his hello? He looked at his phone, then set it down carefully, feeling the weight in his stomach become something stonier, a wall bricking up around the possibility of an end he’d been resisting.
Slowly, methodically, he finished wrapping Mandy’s presents. Then he sat on the couch and let the TV run blindly in front of him. Waiting still. For some indication, one way or another.
As you can see, there would have been some work to do to clean this up, and I admit I was heavily tempted to get deep into editing it before I posted because these words are a tad embarrassing since they’re so rough.
But, I thought it might be nice to show how sloppy a scene can start while a writer is getting their narrative footing. And how much work can obviously be put in to get something in working order.
Thank you for reading! I hope you’ll give Rise of the Snowmen a chance in a few days!