I can certainly tell that Entangled LEREs was the first book written in the Incomplete States series. (Back then, the working title was The Long Summer.) I’m a third of the way through it in the initial editing and revising process, and I’ve deleted four chapters. Those chapters, written while I was exploring and developing the novel’s concept, no longer fit the overall story arc. To keep them in would be indulging myself.
So, off they went. The muse(s) didn’t argue at all, so I must have made the right decisions. Still, I saved each chapter intact as a file, with a note about where they came from, and updated the Editing Checklist to show what I did, and why.
The chapters were fascinating remnants of the genesis of the initial concept and the finalized concept. I remembered struggling daily as I wrote, trying to decide, what is this novel about? As the finalized concept crystallized, one novel became two novels, and then burgeoned into a series. Characters and their tales, plot twists and settings all arose. I didn’t include everything; sometimes I knew that what I was writing was writing to think, exercises to help me understand what I was learning and where I was going. They were saved, too, just in case I later veered.
In point of fact, the largest document of the twenty-five documents (including the four books) I created while developing this series is the document called “Circle (working doc)”. At five hundred pages, it’s one hundred ten thousand words and seventy-nine chapters. Some of the chapters made their way into the beta version of the four books. Many have notes about my intentions when they were written about where they should be in the narrative. Several of the chapters were written as snapshots of action, outcomes, or discussions between characters to help me understand the story arc but included information that I felt shouldn’t be ‘given’ to the reader.
They might still end up in the final first draft of the four books. I don’t know, and won’t know until I’ve completed this phase of editing and revision.
That’s what it’s all about.