Outtake Monday: from Cold Magic

As an occasional series, I’m going to post outtakes from my novels. These will be paragraphs and snippets that did not make it into the final volume. I will try not to include major spoilers.

Here are some reasons I cut scenes and paragraphs:

1) The world building needed to be trimmed to allow the narrative to focus on character and plot

2) I changed my mind about the direction the scene was taking

3) It is excess verbiage not germane to the forward push of the narrative (see also #1 above)

4) A change elsewhere in the text made the exchange, scene, or description obsolete

5) I just didn’t want it there any more


This outtake is from Cold Magic.

Andevai and Cat are bickering by the campfire of the djelimuso Lucia Kante, in the spirit world. I cut this exchange because I decided it wasn’t necessary to move the plot forward, although I like what it reveals about Andevai’s knowledge of the spirit world.


    “I could sit right here until winter solstice, and the mansa could not reach me.”

He laughed sharply.  “Could you?  So let me ask you.  How will you know when enough days and weeks have passed that you may safely cross back over?  And while you linger here, how will you eat and drink?”

Those difficulties had not, in fact, occurred to me.  “There’s water in the well.”

“Will you go hunting, and with what instruments?  Eat the carrion these cats pull down, and hope they do not forget themselves and eat you, while they are hungry and blooded?  Will you gather fruits and roots, and hope those you try are not poisonous, as such things are in the spirit world?  That which is beautiful may be deadly, and that which is ugly may be your friend.  How can you tell the difference?  Born and bred in the city as you so obviously are, do you even know how to find food except at the market?  If so, at what markets may you shop?  With what payment will you purchase that which you need to live?  You know nothing about the spirit world.”

“You have made your point.”