Tuesday, July 19, 2011

About Killing Your Darlings

I don't guess the advice ever really sank in for me.  I mean, I never had a problem cutting text -- even huge chunks if I knew it'd improve the story.

Now it's different though.  I'm working on another revision and I'm having to cut some of my very favorite lines.  It hurts.  No, it more than hurts, it's eating away at my soul.  (Or maybe I just enjoy being dramatic.  You know.  It's more fun that way.)

I guess I've finally discovered the real meaning of the advice to kill your darlings.  My book *will* wind up stronger because of these cuts, and I have no delusions about that, but I still find myself trying to find places to slide the clever little turns of phrase in elsewhere when they just need to DIE.

DIE, DARLINGS, DIE!!!  *jabs them with red pen leaving blood stains on the page*


Ehm.  Getting carried away now.

My point is, I've learned that not everything I write can be considered my darling -- because some of those words?  Well, I don't like them a bit, and they're fun to rip through.  Then there are the ones that sting as you drag a line through their perfect letters.  Those are the darlings.  I have to keep reminding myself it's okay to kill them.  My story will be better for it.

How do you handle killing darlings? 

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