Deleted Scenes

Deleted Scenes from CITY OF GHOSTS for your reading pleasure:


Slaughterhouse, Take One

Deleted Scene from CITY OF GHOSTS

So here is where we look at the evolution of a scene, if I can be all dramatic for a second. If you’ve read the deleted scenes for UNHOLY MAGIC, you may remember the scene where Chess runs into the villain in the market. That ended up being rewritten into the part where Chess and Lex chase the bad guy to the Crematorium. But originally I wrote this scene.

I ended up cutting it, but I liked the whole burning building thing so much I decided to use the scene in CITY OF GHOSTS. So technically this is still a deleted scene from UNHOLY MAGIC, but because the scene changed twice, I’m putting it here, so you can see how it changed.

This scene ended up being rewritten again, into the slaughterhouse scene. But you can see what stayed the same throughout; I think it’s kind of interesting in that way, if you have any interest in that sort of thing, to see what I kept and what I didn’t. I’m still sad I had to lose my little joke; I was rather obviously proud of that one. But such is life.

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Slaughterhouse, Take Two

Deleted Scene from CITY OF GHOSTS

Yep, once again, it’s not actually in the slaughterhouse. This was my first attempt to change the original scene to fit it into CITY OF GHOSTS. It was okay, but ultimately I wasn’t entirely pleased with it.

It didn’t feel dramatic enough, but the biggest reason I needed to change it was it felt a bit contrived. No real information came from the scene as it’s written here; it didn’t actually advance the story in any meaningful way. It was just a setpiece.

Moving it into the slaughterhouse allowed me to have Chess and Lauren witness the creation of the psychopomps, and elaborate on/confirm the idea of Maguinness and the Lamaru at war. Plus we got to see Lauren’s ravens try to kill her and Chess, which added a bit more urgency, I think. Plus it was just a lot more fun; the stakes were much higher. So overall I was quite a bit happier with that one, and I think you’ll see why.

This was originally right after Chess and Lauren chase Erik Vanhelm in his car. He ducks into a building in Downside, and they follow.

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Morning after the Fire

Deleted Scene from CITY OF GHOSTS

So, hopefully you can see why I went with the slaughterhouse instead of just a building on Mercer. (By the way, in UNHOLY MAGIC, when Oliver Fletcher is at Chess’s apartment telling her the locations of the buildings he owns, there’s a bit that came from that very first scene: he tells her he understands the building on Mercer burned down recently. It was supposed to be just a little nod, but of course it didn’t really have much meaning once that scene was cut. However, I did think that it was a good way to show how often buildings burn down in Downside, and it didn’t feel like an error, just a comment he made. So I left it in.)

The other big problem with the “burning building” scene, as opposed to the slaughterhouse scene, is demonstrated in this scene. Remember how I said when discussing the previous scenes that they didn’t advance the story enough? Yes. They served no real purpose in the story, and left me trying to figure out why the Lamaru would go through all that trouble. Obviously we understand in the end, because they wanted to play with her and freak her out and study her, but Chess doesn’t know that, and you as a reader don’t know that, so certainly it would occur to you to wonder what the hell the point of all that was. And of course Chess had to wonder about that too.

So she thought about it the following morning, before Terrible showed up. (In the published novel, of course, this is where she’s thinking about what would happen to the world if the Church couldn’t use psychopomps.) This scene also reflects the book’s original timeline.

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Slaughterhouse/Maguinness’s Child

Deleted Scene from CITY OF GHOSTS

Okay, I think it’s going to be fairly obvious once you’ve finished this scene why it was cut: it’s frankly lousy. I wrote it looking for a way to connect the Lamaru—in the person of Erik Vanhelm—with Maguinness. And as such I guess it works, although it’s not very good and has an awful abrupt ending. It also made Maguinness’s little family look even more revolting, and revolting in a way that felt a bit gratuitous to me. As you know, I have pretty lax standards in that department, because I’m generally kind of a sick, bloodthirsty little bitch, but this felt like too much even for me.

Plus, this came late in the story. In my original draft, the connection between the Lamaru and Maguinness wasn’t understood until very late in the game, but on rewriting I decided the whole thing just moved too slowly, and having read the book (I assume, or you likely wouldn’t be reading deleted scenes) you know I sped things up considerably. Also, obviously, I wrote this is before I decided to torch the slaughterhouse.

One other thing about this scene: there’s a mention in here of the Erik/Aaron question. Originally they were twins, both posing as Erik, which was how Erik could have died in the beginning (which he did in the original draft) but still wandered around doing evil. So that’s why that’s in there. I warn you, though, it really isn’t very good, and I only include it because I want to give you as much extra stuff as I can.

This originally took place right after the scene with Chess and Terrible in the tunnels, when Lauren is waiting for Chess outside her apartment.

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The original chat with Maguinness

Deleted Scene from CITY OF GHOSTS

I really liked parts of this, but as the plot changed it just no longer worked, and the dialogue felt a bit stilted. So I changed it, obviously, although a lot of the dialogue did stay. Plus I still like the “oooh-I’m-so-slick-and-creepy,” line, so I’m including it here. Because that’s the way I roll.

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Deleted Scenes from UNHOLY MAGIC for your reading pleasure:


Red Berta’s House

Deleted Scene from UNHOLY MAGIC

I was so sad to have to cut this one. I loved being able to take a closer look at Red Berta and the particularly tight-knit and secret world of the Downside hookers. I loved the idea of them being almost a secret society, with their own magic and talismans and rituals: I’d already set some of this up with the purses, and when Terrible told Chess that they had secrets they don’t let men into.

Anyway. I really liked this scene, for the most part, but when I was editing and rewriting—which tightened the book up considerably—I realized that since I’d added the “Prison Ten” scene, and put Vanita into the Crematorium scene, I didn’t really need any further background; the Remington stuff was superfluous. And Chess was able to figure out what was happening to the men at the end, anyway.

So I had to let it go. But it sucked. :smile:

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Chess meets the Bad Guy in the Market

Deleted Scene from UNHOLY MAGIC

I think it’s pretty obvious why this one ended up getting cut; the plot ended up changing! At this point in the first draft I didn’t know who the bad guy was, and was thinking it was a small group of people funded by Oliver Fletcher. But after the Lamaru I didn’t want to do another “bad magic group” kind of story, so I ended up scrapping that—and this scene, along with it. Although I did keep the implication that the bad guys were following Chess.

The chase scene and the aftermath of that will show up in the deleted scenes for CITY OF GHOSTS; I rewrote it for that book, and then rewrote it again, so I’ll probably post both versions.

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Lex’s Market

Deleted Scene from UNHOLY MAGIC

This scene introduced a character I’d planned to give a larger part to in the book, but didn’t get a chance so I had to cut her. I think she’ll show up again, though.

This was the original “opening” to the chase-to-the-crematorium scene; I’ve clipped it where the chase begins. I basically decided, after writing the Nightsedge Market scene, that it was a lot more dynamic, and I could find a better way for Chess to “catch” the bad guys; if they were following her, keeping an eye on her because of her/their involvement with Fletcher, it made sense for them to be at the Market with her. So I liked that a lot better.

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Lex’s Market Aftermath

Deleted Scene from UNHOLY MAGIC

Obviously, since I removed the coincidence of stumbling across the hooker being attacked, Chess and Lex couldn’t return to the scene of the crime, as it were. This was also written when the Bad Guys were still an Oliver Fletcher-run conspiracy, the ultimate thrill for his Hollywood friends. (I dropped that because it was a bit too much plot, it didn’t make sense that he’d travel all the way across the country to do it, and honestly, Oliver just didn’t seem to me like someone capable of murder like that. I kind of liked the guy, actually.

Plus, it was fun to conjure up a mysterious past for him, and give him some vulnerability, instead of just making him an Evil Hollywood Executive, Mark 1.

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Terrible and the tunnels

Deleted Scene from UNHOLY MAGIC

One of the main plot points or conflicts in the book was originally the idea that both gangs blamed the other for what was happening to the prostitutes, and someone was taking advantage of their suspicion and setting them up. I don’t want to say too much more about that, because I do plan to use that at some point, but in a different way!

This is immediately after Chess arrives home to find Terrible there, and the dead girl around the corner from her apartment.

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The Sigil’s Origin

Deleted Scene from UNHOLY MAGIC

This is another one I really, really hated to lose. I liked this scene a lot better than the one I ended up using (where Elder griffin tells Chess about Fletcher and the sigil), but in the interests of proper pacing, I really had to wait for that. This originally took place at the same place as the scene in the library with Elder Griffin; I’ve left the tag end of that in here to help place it.

Anyway, I didn’t want to give away what the sigil did that early in the story. I felt it lessened the impact of what came later. And since Elder griffin was going to have to tell Chess about Fletcher’s Church education anyway, I decided to hold off.

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Deleted Scenes from PERSONAL DEMONS for your reading pleasure:


First Call

Deleted Scene from PERSONAL DEMONS

I knew I wanted the book to start with Megan’s first caller, but originally planned to show more of the show’s content before we got to Regina. This version also gave a bit more of Megan’s backstory and motivations. After sticking with it for a while, though, I decided it didn’t jump into the action enough, so discarded it.

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Foreshadowing Don Tremblay

Deleted Scene from PERSONAL DEMONS

The first scene here was intended to make the Jeff Howard/Don Tremblay connection stronger, and to set Tremblay up as a stronger villain. When Howard’s role in the book diminished so did Tremblay’s. The second was actually another Yezer vignette, so disappeared when the others did.

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Megan Suspended

Deleted Scene from PERSONAL DEMONS

This was just about the last major edit I made. I’d originally planned to use the Partners a lot more, but as often happens, the story took on a life of its own and focused elsewhere. So we really didn’t need this much information about them all, and the basic outcome of the scene could be handled easily with simple exposition.

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Partners meet the boys

Deleted Scene from PERSONAL DEMONS

I never finished this scene, deciding to skip the office entirely. But I think it’s kind of cute. Mostly it’s here because of the phrase “private bone” which is basically a joke for some of the readers of the December Quinn work. See guys? I did have it in there!

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Vignettes

Deleted Scenes from PERSONAL DEMONS

I wrote these as I went along, thinking they might add to the sense of impending danger and by showing the Yezer at work in people’s eeryday lives. But…um, I forgot about them, basically, and realized at one point I hadn’t put one in for over 20k words, so obviously they weren’t that useful or interesting. Still think they’re kind of fun for the above purposes, though, so enjoy.

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