JUNK FILE – something no writer should be without. Not all the stuff we cut out when editing is rubbish. On days when I am stuck, organising my junk file into some logical order is a good displacement activity. Scenes that take this story nowhere could form the foundation of another one, and even the superfluous characters might be useful in another setting.

One person in Helter-Skelter I couldn’t possibly relegate to the junk file is JONES, one of the soldiers in Albie’s corps. In fact it would be difficult to delete any of his fellow soldiers because they all have roles in Part Three. Here is this week’s taster of my novel – it describes Jones’ character  perfectly (I hope!)

Jones – a hospital porter in civilian life – patted Harris's back and blew his nose and calmed him down. The entire hut called Jones “Auntie” after that, which he bore stoically.  “I’ve been called worse,” he confessed when Albie asked him if he minded and, looking at Jones’s soft body and doe eyes, Albie thought he could probably guess what.

There is another kind of junk that can be useful – the unwanted things we throw away. In every town, village and hamlet in Tenerife there are basura bins – some for recycling, others for landfill. Anything that in England we would have sent to a jumble sale we leave beside the bins, and often it is only minutes before they’ve gone. With 30% of the workforce out of a JOB, almost anything can turn up for sale at the weekly flea market.

JEEP – this photo is of my son-in-law’s pride and JOY – if he’s not painting a wall or tiling a kitchen on his day off, he’s nailing another piece of kit onto his Jeep!


  1. Great examples of the letter J. I liked your excerpt. I've been guilty of deleting everything once I cut it from a scene. I'll try your strategy.

  2. That little bit of description works well, Lizy. Easy to visualise.

    Junk is a matter of perspective I suppose. One man's meat and all that. I'm always amazed at what people buy at car boot sales and what gets taken home time and again.

    Have to agree about the junk file. When I am writing I save each day's work with the date so nothing gets deleted until the work is done and dusted. Even then I rarely delete things completely, simply archive them, and when seeking inspiration I often check through submitted work files and see if I can re-use anything. It is easier if you haven't got a blank page and you have something to "edit" straight away.

  3. I keep 'deleted scenes' when editing as it's easier to be brave if I know I can change my mind later.

  4. I have a whole filing cabinet drawer of junk that I will not throw away, just in case. When I'm uninspired I delve into it.

  5. Glad you all agree with me that deleting completely is counter-productive. Either that or we're all simply natural hoarders!

  6. I've made £300 so far, by selling my junk.

    I like your idea of a story, of the character organising their junk folder, Lizy.

  7. I have way too much junk. I need to spend a couple of days just getting rid of stuff.

  8. I've owned every type of vehicle out there including a Harley, but the one I miss the most is my Jeep. I loved it.

    Dropping by from A to Z. This is my first year participating.

    Brett Minor
    Transformed Nonconformist

  9. Physically I get rid of junk but literary endeavors are never deleted despite editing...I guess it matters how much I've worked for it and if I can fathom a later use for it.


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