Rewriting Tips: Save, Delete, Test

Except from Screenplay Competitions: Tools and Insights to Help You Choose the Best Screenwriting Contests for You and Your Script by Ann Marie Williams © 2019

Finding the best version of my story often means having to delete beloved parts from my script. For the sake of the story, I’ll have to sacrifice a beautiful scene, a great piece of dialogue, or maybe even an awesome character. It hurts, it’s painful, but if it makes the story better, then it’s necessary.

So, I thank that moment, or line, or character, for playing its part in helping to get my script to its current version—then I delete it.

Well, okay, I actually don’t outright delete it. That’s still too painful. And potentially wasteful. Instead, if I have to delete something that I truly love, I’ll copy and paste that moment into a new document—just the part I’m going to delete.This way, if I ever need it again (either in future drafts of this script or for a future script), I can easily find it.

These moments become my own “Deleted Scenes” and I can look back on them whenever I want. They’ve been deleted from the script, but they’re not totally gone.

What if I’m not sure if removing an element from my story will make it better? Then I save my current draft, make the deletions, and read the revised script. If the story still works, and the flow and pacing are better, I have my answer.

And once again, I remind myself that no scene, line, or moment should ever be more important than the entire script.

Screenplay Competitions book front and back cover

Screenplay Competitions is available on eBay, Amazon, and direct from the publisher: Bluestocking Press.

Screenplay Competitions has received endorsements from Dave Trottier (author, The Screenwriter’s Bible,, Professor Richard Walter (former Screenwriting Area Head, Associate and Interim Dean UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television), Matt Dy (former Director of Script Competitions at Austin Film Festival), Professor Harry M. Cheney (Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts), script editor Lucy V. Hay ( and Emmy-wining writer Ken Levine (Hollywood and Levine).