Kill All The Darlings

They say a writer never wants to kill their darlings.  Those people have never met Joss Whedon.

Editing Symbols

As a part of the editing process, I had to go through a bunch of feedback where dudes would say, “Yo, this doesn’t work,” or, “I think this should be written a different way.”  Some of the feedback was also about lines that didn’t work – the typical stuff writers are supposed to get all preachy about.

Me, not so much.  I don’t mind killing off bits if it improves the story – and perspective on that is very hard when you’ve been carrying the book around in your head for a while.  There’s one piece of narrative in the book where I talk about a “meeting of the lost” that a couple of people pulled me up on; I cut it out.  It was a relic from a previous draft where that section had been trying for a different feel, and despite sounding all Jules Winnfield it was just plain wrong.

I read a related piece on this today, an interview between Rothfuss and Sanderson up on Amazon.  There’s some good bits on there that are worth reading if you’re a writer (or if you like either of their work).  I like the things they talk about; about their different productivity
styles (one needs a writing space with no Internet, the other uses a laptop and music), the support they get from their editors, about going from zero to hero, about how they need to manage normal lives and families around writing, and about killing darlings.

I suspect killing darlings might get a bit more real for me if I had a publisher and an actual editor.  Until then, I’m just going to practice acceptance and killing (…of sloppy narrative).

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