Murder your darlings

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

-Stephen King, On Writing

Writers love to write. Well, most of the time that is. Actually, for me quite often it’s as painful as opening a vein. But even harder is cutting out something that you’ve written and loved. Maybe in the light of day it’s not as brilliant as you thought it was in the wee hours of the morning. Or maybe it just doesn’t fit in the story any more.

I now have a folder on my computer with a bunch of chapters that have been completely cut from the current draft of Thief of Destiny. It’s sad because there are some great scenes and characters in those chapters, but the truth is they no longer fit with my new plot line. And since the plot is working out much better than before, all I can do is send them to the “old chapters” folder and hope that maybe they’ll see the light of day in a future book or a novella. Somewhere I have a file called “darlings” with deleted paragraphs and scenes from book 1. It’s tempting to post some deleted scenes or make a “director’s cut” version, but on the other hand, things are generally cut for a good reason. Chopping down my beloved prologue from Thief of Hope was so hard at the time; now I can barely remember the original version because the changes worked so much better.

So the writing proceeds. Chapters are cut and new words are added. The book is coming along. I keep thinking of the words of a wise fish as inspiration: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

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About Cindy Young-Turner

Hippie chick who is still hoping to change the world someday. Author of the fantasy novel, Thief of Hope.
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6 Responses to Murder your darlings

  1. Vic Brown says:

    Cindy: I really enjoyed your post on cutting your darlings. Well, enjoyed in a painful way. I suffer from the same syndrome I find it really hard to slice and dice. I no doubt don’t do it enough, but will probably face that when my editor asks me to cut somewhere between 8 and ten thousand words. . . ! Will you hold my hand? Cheers, Vic NNNN

    >

  2. laurie.a says:

    I confess this heading gave me pause in my inbox, but your blog is spot-on. I can still see my father in my mind’s eye, pruning his rose bushes as I winced at each cut.

    Onward and upward 🙂

  3. A. L. Kaplan says:

    Sigh. I understand exactly what you’re saying.

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