Sunday, July 12, 2015

Writers, do you kill your darlings?



The way "darlings" was defined for me was...
Imagine yourself editing your manuscript, your gaze is sweeping across the page from phrase to phrase. But then ... But then you find a phrase so brilliant that is shines so brightly that it overwhelms the page. That's a 'darling'.

Do you need to kill it?

Sometimes darlings can be mistaken for a clever turn of phrase. It takes skill to properly distinguish between them. What helps me is asking myself, does this piece of writing add a key ingredient to my manuscript? If the answer is yes then it is a clever turn of phrase. If no, then it is a darling. Rather than killing it, you can simply remove it from the manuscript and store it in a file folder or computer document. Who knows, one day it may fit nicely -- as a clever turn of phrase -- in a future manuscript.

More ...

Sometimes "darlings" can be longer than a phrase. Erin Bowman has written an article about characters and entire "darling" scenes and her difficulties with killing them.

"Kill your darlings" is popular advice in writing circles. But which author was the first to offer this advice? Some say William Faulkner. Others say Stephen King. Still others say (fill in the blank with the name of your favourite gifted author). Forrest Wickman penned a clever article on the origins of the phrase.

Marcie Colleen wrote a helpful article on how-to kill your darlings.

R J Blain cautions writers to think carefully before the kill. A helpful checklist is included in this article. In conclusion, R J writes:  'But I do not believe that cutting for the sake of cutting, or because some internet quote told you to, is really an answer.'

I usually find my darlings at the beginning of my manuscript, when I'm attempting to get a feel for what I'm trying to write --
when I'm trying to find a way in. And it's interesting to note, a darling doesn't always have to sparkle like diamonds -- sometimes they are dull like cheap rhinestones. But they never serve the story.

Gabriela Pereira concludes her article on this subject with:  'We must believe that the best is still in us, that if we sacrifice those darlings, it opens up room on the page for something better. Killing our darlings is an act of faith.'


Sharing my author journey...
Some of the best support (in terms of growing my author career) has come from other authors. One of the first authors to help me was Celia Leaman. Sunday, July 19th is a special day for Celia. She will be launching...

her latest Gale Island novel at 2 PM at Miners Bay Books, Fernhill Centre. Signed copies will be available as well as PDF downloads.

Undone blurb:  In divorcing her faithless husband, Millicent Snood discovers that he is more deceitful than she thought and fears he will swindle her out of even the most meager financial settlement. Tired of his bullying she resigns herself to defeat--that is, until her new friend, Hazel, intervenes.

Hazel, doesn't like Pug, and takes great pleasure in cajoling Millicent into getting what she deserves. In the process, Millicent gets more than she bargains for!

Please come out to support my friend and fellow author.

2 comments:

Laurie Buchanann said...

Leanne — I love the Gabriela Pereira quote you shared. Faith. Yep, writing all boils down to faith!

Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you for your comment, Laurie. Yes, faith. Faith that the words will come. Faith that your story will be understood. Lots and lots of faith. : )