Monday, 31 January 2011

Deleted scenes (but no author's commentary)

Every good DVD has extra features, doesn’t it? I feel positively short-changed if there’s not a commentary to listen to once I’ve seen the film all the way through. I also enjoy watching the deleted scenes. Quite often I agree with the director, and can see why they didn’t make it into the final cut, but it’s still interesting to have a window on someone else’s story building.

Well, quite a few of my book have deleted scenes. Most of the time they just quietly die a death in the recycle bin, but I thought I’d share one from Three Weddings And A Baby with you.

Why these scenes? See here for an explanation. (I did type a longer one out here, but I was boring myself repeating it all, so I thought I’d just cut the waffle and get to the point!)

Josie from English Lord, Ordinary Lady is one of my very favourite heroines, and I really enjoyed meeting up with her after a few years and seeing how she was doing with her new family. I thought I’d post my deleted scene so that anyone else who had a soft spot for Josie (or Will!) could catch up with her.

Jennie has snuck into the little church next door to Elmhurst Hall to think...

"She was disturbed by the dull clink of a door latch, and peered around the pillar just enough to see a girl with a pink coat and sparkly silver plastic crown on her head enter. She was pulled up like a ballet dancer and walked with a regal, solemn step, her hands clasped in front of her.

Jennie wondered what on earth she was doing at first, but then she thought about where they were, and where the girl was heading, and she laughed softly inside her head. She remembered being that age, full of daydreams and fairytales… Although, she’d probably never looked as serene as the dark-haired girl proceeding down the aisle.

Then she heard more footsteps. She didn’t exactly hide behind her pillar, but she didn’t do anything to draw attention to herself, either. For once in her life she wasn’t feeling very sociable.

A blonde-haired toddler scooted up the aisle after his sister, followed swiftly by his mother.

‘Billy,’ whispered the girl through clenched teeth, chin still high, ‘you’re not supposed to run in church! You’re ruining it!’

The woman looked over her shoulder, looking a little weary. ‘Hattie?’ Do we have to do wedding rehearsals right now?’ She grabbed the toddler’s hand and started shuffling along one of the pews near the front. ‘Where exactly did you leave your gloves?’

But Hattie just kept going. Step, together. Step, together.

Then a tall man in a coat appeared at the door. He walked swiftly down the aisle behind the little girl and scooped her up and over his shoulder in one fluid movement.

‘Will!’ the girl shrieked. ‘Brides don’t do fireman’s lifts!’ But she was laughing as she told him off, squirming in his arms as he tickled her.

‘They do if they’re eloping,’ he said dryly.

The woman giggled. ‘That could have been fun,’ she said, and gave him a soft look.

Jennie smiled to herself. It had been fun, eloping with Alex. Thrilling.

‘Loping?’ said the girl. ‘What’s that?’

‘What we should have done.’ her mother said, as the little boy slipped her grip and sprinted away from her as fast as his chubby legs could take him.

‘Running away,’ the man said, and caught the racing toddler deftly with his free hand and turned to face the entrance. ‘To get married. So you can avoid all the fuss.’

The girl—Hattie?—slumped on his shoulder. ‘But if you and mummy had ‘loped, I wouldn’t have been able to wear my lovely pink dress with the bow, and have flowers in my hair, and…’

The rest of the her speech was lost as they disappeared out the church doors.

‘And that was why we didn’t elope,’ her mother muttered to herself. Jennie couldn’t see her, because she was behind another pillar. ‘Because we’d have never lived it down!’ The woman reached the end of the pew and came into sight again.

‘Got them!’

Jennie almost jumped out of her skin at the triumphant shout. The woman held a pair of bright pink gloves aloft and smiled to herself, and then she side-stepped to the end of the pew and started walking back up towards the doors but, because she had chosen the side aisle as her exit route, Jennie was now in full view, no longer hidden by her pillar. She felt like a spy.

After a few steps the woman spotted her. ‘Oh, hello,’ she said, and smiled again.

Jennie wanted to crawl away but she smiled back—mostly teeth and gums. From this distance she could see the woman had purple steaks in the front of her hair.

She gave Jennie a curious look. ‘Are you new in the village?’


Jennie didn’t know what to say. That was exactly what she’d come here to mull over.

‘Sort of…’

The woman pulled her hand out of a multi-coloured woolly mitten. ‘Josie,’ she said, and Jennie stood and shook her hand.


And right there was the other thing she’d come to think about. What was she? Who was she?

‘Dangerfield,’ she finally added, not sounding very convincing.

The woman raised her eyebrows. ‘Then you must be related to Alex. We’ve crossed paths once or twice…’

Jennie nodded. ‘I’m his wife.’

There she’d said it. Told someone. Some of the heaviness in her chest lifted.

Josie looked shocked, but she covered it well. Jennie realised that it must look a bit odd, her sitting in a draughty old church on a Sunday lunchtime, when she should be stuffing chickens or roasting parsnips, like a good little wife.

Josie looked at her hands, stuffed the bare one back inside its mitten. ‘Well… nice to have met you,’ she said.

Jennie just nodded, tried to smile again, and Josie went out of the church to join her family.

Now she was on her own again, Jennie collapsed back against the pillar, a hand to her forehead. No doubt, had her father seen her do that, he’d have said she was being overly dramatic, but truly, the last twenty-four hours had been utterly exhausting.

While she was draped against the cool stone she thought about the family that had just left, how ordinary they had seemed, but also how happy. Comfortable with each other. A million miles from where she and Alex were."

The church scene remains but, sadly, this scene with Josie and Will and Hattie is gone - changes at the revisions stage meant it just wasn't needed any more, and I was dangerously over my word count, so it just had to go. Sob.

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