The Text: The next drawer had books in—The Busconductor Hines, A Chancer—all that Weedgie misery porn, the sort you’d buy to say you read it, only you never would.
Reason for Removal: Bagging on an author more brilliant than myself.
The Text: “No. Bog off. Get back.”
“Gonna piss on you.”
“Fuck you are.” I grabbed the cat and heaved it at him. It did a wormy air-twist thing and caught itself on the lamp. Marv dug his dick out. His keks were disgusting. Funny, the things you notice, when you’re about to get wild-hosed in your own living room.
Reason for Removal: Too many people getting pissed on. There are other ways to demonstrate contempt. (In my defence, only one person actually…I mean, all right. Maybe that one was justified.)
The Text: Arvid looked at him. “The sea,” he said. “That’s what I remember. I mean, sure, there were…you got your mountains, your roads, that forest with the bluebells—but even that, flowers to the horizon, I’d look out at all that blue and see the waves.” He reached for another biscuit. “Mm. The violent sea.”
Reason for Removal: Heavy-handed sentimentality.
The Text: I took a bite of cucumber. It wasn’t good cucumber: too seedy, kind of parched. It left me thirstier than before.
“You could leave some for me,” said Elsa.
I took another bite. A spite-bite. I’d eat the whole thing, if it came to that.
Reason for Removal: Bludgeoning the reader over the head with the protagonist’s horrible personality.
The Text: I could feel him staring. He wanted me to ask about his wife. I held up the margarine, instead. “Butter? Jam?”
“She left me,” he said. “Let’s say I found it easier to pay for the pretence of affection than to be worthy of the real thing.”
And he’d made it awkward, just like always. Fucking Victor.
Reason for Removal: Nothing to do with the story.
* Let me rephrase that: “Things Perfectly Competent Editors have Cut Out of First Drafts of Novels I’ve Written, for Entirely Legitimate Reasons.” Rather less fun that way, isn’t it?