Come, gentle night; come, loving, black-browed night;
Give me my Romeo; and, when I shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night…
—Romeo and Juliet Act III scene ii
This quote was the original epigraph for New Moon. Why did it change? As I spent more time with the book, I decided I wanted the epigraph to be more representative of danger and potential heartbreak. Though this quote also has some nice foreshadowing, I had to choose—the romance or the warning? I went with the warning.
That’s how outtakes are made—choosing one storyline over the other, exploring a direction that doesn’t quite end up where you want it to, adding something new that makes another piece obsolete.
Of course, these are all rough pieces and it’s really embarrassing to let people see them. I’m enduring the shame for three reasons. Firstly, humility is a virtue. Secondly, people loved the Twilight Outtakes so much, and I’m afraid they’ll hurt me if I don’t give them more. And finally (this is the real one), so many of you are writers, too. I think outtakes are most interesting from a writer’s perspective. I’m hoping these might help some of you who are just getting started to be able to make sense of the editing process, and to be more ruthless self-editors. (Just because you love something doesn’t mean it should stay in.)
That said, I don’t have as much material to share as I did with Twilight. When I wrote Twilight, I thought I was done. I wasn’t planning a sequel. So I wrote all kinds of fluff, just so that I could live in Bella and Edward’s world for a few more chapters. With New Moon, I knew where the story was going in the long run, and I wrote everything with a purpose.
So this is what I have to share: a tiny exchange that shows how deleting one element can totally change the mood of a scene, an entire story line that ran from chapter six through chapter twenty before I slashed it out, and an alternate way of developing the plot.