Firstly, Phone notes. If I’m out and about, or wake up in the middle of the night, and I think of an idea, sentence, anecdote, metaphor, whatever. I tap it into the notes application on my phone and email it to myself. And, no, I don’t worry about spelling…
Secondly, Word compost. I have a folder in Scrivener called Fragments. There are 10,000+ words in there; sections, paragraphs, chapters that for whatever reason I have decided to cut.
It’s good to know they’re there in a folder, but I doubt I’ll ever look at them again. As David Mitchell says,
A good rule of thumb: if you have to think more than five seconds about whether or not a thing should be cut, that means do it. In the age of word processors, I’ve got a file called “may be useful one day,” where I put things that are great and that I can’t bear to lose. I cut and paste and put it in the file, so at least its there in case I ever want to go back and retrieve it. How often do I go back and retrieve it? Never. Not once. Which I feel proves my point. link
Lastly, Cut ups. In Scrivener, I have a folder called cut ups. When I’ve finished working on a chapter, I copy 300 – 500 words from a section I quite like, paste them into the cut up machine and cut it up.
I make a note of any phrases the machine creates that I like. And I add them to the cut ups folder in Scrivener. It doesn’t mean I will ever use any of them, but I might. And cutting up your book helps you see it in a different way.