Witness Big Audio Dynamite II, culled from the wreckage of The Clash and infused with funk, hip hop and the earliest 1990s incarnations of electronic dance music.

What you might also notice is that an integral portion of this highly danceable tune is the loop from the Clash song “Should I Stay Or Should I Go.” The guitar riff, the “woo!” – it’s all lifted straight from the song former band member Mick Jones helped write and one that has since become one of the band’s signature songs.

Neither one of these songs could in any way be called a throwaway, but they illustrate an important point – the remnants of one thing can sometimes be used – when combined with fresh material – to create an entirely new and mostly unrelated thing. And with the right treatment, that new thing can be pretty darn good.

Consider this as you write – all those dead darlings you might have floating around in your “I had to cut this out but it was too awesome to throw away” file (and if you don’t have one of these, you absolutely should). Even though a particular character, bit of dialog or entire scene didn’t work in one story doesn’t mean you can’t rescue it from the trash bin, add some new embellishment and turn it into something great.

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