The Cutting Room Floor

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People talk about the cutting room floor in relation to movies. But do you ever stop to think that there is a cutting room floor for books. Not all the draft content for a novel makes into the final manuscript. There are many reasons. For example, an editor decides that a particular piece doesn’t move the story forward. Sometimes, political correctness comes into play as in an editor saying “you can’t put that in there, it will turn readers off.” Sometimes, a draft just gets rewritten and the initial content is forgotten. Then there are bloopers. Yep, they happen in the written word as well as the movies.

I’m thinking of adding a “Cutting Room Floor” to the website tomcollinsauthor.com. Here is an example a content falling victim to political correctness. In an initial draft of Chapter 22 of The Claret Murders, Rollins relates his experience driving into D.C. and uses the opportunity to explain the amnesty role the District planned in the Civil War period. A roll that continues to shape the behavior and demographic of the area today:

The Claret Murders Chapter 22—Washington (on the Cutting Room Floor)

Rather than drive to the commandant’s suburban offices in Virginia, I had reserved a table at the Capitol Hill Club. The commandant and his sidekick spook had agreed to join me there for lunch. If we needed more privacy for the negotiations, the Club has a number of small meeting rooms we could adjourn to.

The Capitol Hill Club is in the shadow of the Capitol. That part of D.C. is pristine with its white marble and stone buildings that constitute our seat of government. Unfortunately, the areas of D.C. that we had to drive through to get there were a stark contrast—decaying townhouses occupied predominantly by blacks. I have to confess that more than once when the car stopped for a red light, I uncomfortably felt the stares of big young black men. The majority of D.C.’s black population is sustained by welfare. There are government jobs for some of them, especially among the black female population, but I am always struck by the absence of blacks in other jobs in the city. I’m in the District frequently, and I seldom see blacks, especially male blacks, among the wait staff. 

In spite of the city’s liberal slant, there is still discrimination—more than I experience elsewhere.  It is an unpleasant surprise. You get the feeling that from an economic standpoint there is nothing for the majority of blacks living in the city. The question is why they remain there. And, there is an answer. They are generational holdovers from the amnesty role the District played during the years leading up to the Civil War. Apparently, after the war, no one went home!

Let me know if you would like to see more from the cutting room floor. You can email me at tom.collins@i65n.com.

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to the TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For Amazon go to www.amazon.com/Tom-Collins. For an audio edition of The Claret Murders go to http://amzn.com/B00IV5ZJEI. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com. For the new adventure novel on Amazon go to Diversion: a Mark Rollins Adventure. Published by I-65 North, Inc.