Killing Your Darlings
Happy Write Tip Wednesday!
Time for a time warp Write Tip from years ago. This one comes to you from 2010! Wow! I like to share these older write tips for a few reasons. 1) They're a true view of the way I saw life as an aspiring writer. Now published, I talk about writing a lot differently. 2) If you're an aspiring writer, you may glean more knowledge from unpublished me back then over published me today since we're likely struggling with the same hurdles. Enjoy!
This blog was originally posted 7/10/2010 on my blog Sm:)e Feel Good.
KILLING YOUR DARLINGS
I love a good slasher movie! The hapless teenagers fleeing from the man in the hockey mask or the one with knives for fingers. Even that movie with the ghost-faced killer in black boots had me squealing with delight!
But when it comes to slashing my words… my carefully written prose that has taking me hours in front of the computer, well, let’s just say I don’t do it with the glee of a maniac with a chainsaw.
But sometimes, we must kill our darlings. Those scenes we love, those words so carefully crafted and sculpted to convey just the right emotion, but sadly, no longer are needed.
Today I slashed twenty thousand words *gulp* and I did it because it was the right thing to do, NOT because it was the easy thing to do. Trust me, it wasn’t.
I fell in love with the lake house, with the scene on the dock, with an extra character and her adorable gapped-tooth son…
But alas, they didn’t make it to the end. They were much like the superfluous characters tossed into a horror movie simply to be cut (sometimes literally) before their time.
My meandering and well-meaning story was written much by the seat of my pants (I am a pantser, not a plotter, if you were wondering) and 45,000 words deep I realized that I was changing a few things. So I rewound and rewrote the first chunk of the book. Then I came up with another change, then another… all which made my previously written manuscript, well… irrelevant.
And, truth be told, it wasn’t all shining like a precious jewel found in the Goonies pirate cave. Some of it was bad writing.
To quote writer Mort Rainey, a character in the movie Secret Window, “This is just bad writing. So you know what to do. Just do it,” then he deletes the whole screen.
Sure it hurt, but I know now with those meddling darlings out of my way, I could get away with it too! Mwa ha haha! *cough* Excuse me, got carried away. As I was saying, my book may have a chance at being what it is supposed to be.