A Writer's Journey

April 15, 2013

Killing Your Darlings

Filed under: journey,The Wedding Game,writing — mackenziew @ 1:30 am
Tags: ,

I mentioned this last week. What does it mean to kill your darlings, you may ask. Or, more importantly, what is a darling? Good questions!

A darling is something you particularly like—be it a character, a sentence, a paragraph, a scene or even a chapter. And the reasons you may have to delete them are different. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Character

Why it might be a darling: You really like the character. S/He is really cool or wise or badass. You might identify with the character. Or the character is your author avatar.

Why you might have to kill it: The character just doesn’t fit with the story. Or the character serves no purpose. Or another character better serves the purpose.

For example, I wrote about dropping a character in this blog post from last year.

Sentence/Paragraph/Scene/Chapter

Why it might be a darling: Let’s face—it’s probably some of your best writing. You may never write like this again. Everyone should read how magnificent it is!

Why you might have to kill it: Your story has taken a different turn and the writing now presents a continuity error. Or it doesn’t fit the tone of the story. It just has to go to make the story stronger.

I probably note in a few reviews or analysis that I feel some romance authors need to do this to some of their sex scenes. Sex =/= Relationship building.

Going through the editing process, I’ve had to delete a few of my darlings. And there are more I’ll probably have to delete in the future. It’s going to be painful, I know.

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