Kill Your Darlings?!

Novel Progress

I got the carpet steam cleaned. What does THAT tell you?

Actually, I made some good progress. Chapter six was a little anemic so I am still fleshing it out.

Writing Advice: Kill Your Whats?

Samuel Johnson, noted dictionary maker, large person, blowhard, and wig wearer, said that when writing one should find their favorite parts and cut them out. Reading Johnson’s fiction, you can tell he cut out all the best bits he ever wrote. Johnson was very quotable but not great at fiction. But not everyone gets a slavish biographer secretly jotting down their bon mots on napkins.

I wish I did! Anyone want to be my Boswell? It’s pro bono. I promise the curse words and blasphemy will flow like sweet, sweet wine!

A vital part of writing is editing. Sometimes you have to cut whole chapters because they stop the plot dead in their tracks.

I had to do that. In my zeal to get my character from A to B, I shorted out the climax of the plot. I had to trust that the audience could accept the compression of time through editing. It was getting to be like the movie “Return of the King.”

Oh! It’s over! That was a pretty good… oh, no it’s not finished. NOW it’s over. Let’s get our coats and… damn it! This has GOT to be the end. Look! They’re leaving… oh shit. 

Incidentally, that’s only the very beginning of the cursing I can do. Cursing, or as I like to call it, “poetry of the streets,” can be an impressive add-on to any expression. Did I impressive? Nay, beautiful!

I am not suggesting that you hone your ability to express yourself through words that causes polite society to clutch their pearls and stagger towards the fainting couch. I do encourage it, but it’s not for everyone.

You say it is for you? You’re *&(#$& right it is!

If you have to cuss in a novel but want to make sure that it is adolescent-friendly, I suggest you switch your font to “wingdings.” Sure, your book will be unpublishable, but you (and by extension I) will know the dirty secret in your 70K+ word novel.

On second thought, cut that part out. You might as well print your book out in “Comic Sans.” Yeah, it’s best to leave all the sailor talk out and concentrate on your story. Be efficient, for $#(&* sake.

Don’t delete your darlings, though. Keep them. You can always use the ideas for another project. Save your work and be proud of your mastery of the linguistic dark side!

Editing for the win!