Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kill Your Darlings...

… these were the words spoken by Eve Silver at a TRW workshop I’d intended earlier this month. Meaning? Sometimes, even those most precious, hard-worked gorgeous sentences need to be killed. This doesn’t just extend to wordplay but to characters and particularly, to scenes. Sometimes, they just don’t fit in the story or do anything to move the plot along.

I’m learning this more and more as I write and it never gets easier. Some scenes will be so awesome and shiny but they’ll do nothing. It’s a pain and often… a fight between wills- the stubborn ego and the practical plotter. Now, I’m not a plotter in the sense that I know where I’m going from point A to B to C. Heck no. My writing is utter chaos. If anyone were to read the rough drafts, they’d be lost because I write random scenes as they come to me and then string them up later to make some kind of a sense- a jigsaw puzzle. So for me, I’ll have a lot of scenes I’ll love or LOVE, but won’t be able to place. So out they go.

Characters… I’m not good with this. I’m not much of a kill off a character I like person and this also reflects what I watch or will read. I refuse, REFUSE, to watch/read something where the main character dies. For me, it’s a waste of my time. I don’t need a character to be doomed from the start. I want to see him/her struggle and get to their feet, to come out better for all that they’d gone through. So death to a main char is a sure way for me to put the book down.

And I’ll confess, because of this, I do often read the last page of a book. Or at least skim it to make sure that everyone is alive and in happily ever after. There’s too much ugliness in reality. I read to get away from it all. But I digress.

I’ve been editing my manuscript for a bit now. It had just gone through a critique so this past week I’ve been cleaning it up. I’ve realized two things: 1. Some of those nice pretty sentences? Aren’t needed because they are either redundant or confusing to the reader. 2. I have more clutch words than I expected and not just that… but actions as well. For instance, clutch words: just, simply. Action clutches?- certain lip movements, glaring or narrowing of the eyes.

So kill your darlings, because as hard as it is, your story will be better for it. Yes, those are words I took back with me from Eve Silver’s awesome workshop and it’s something that I’ll keep with me. Maybe I’ll even print it out in front of me while I write.

Speaking of Eve, I just finished her book Seduced by a Stranger and I highly recommend it. At first, I was a bit wary of the hero. He’s different. Darker. Harder. Colder. Just different from any other hero I’ve ever really read before. I wasn’t sure what to expect because his story is so… intense for a lack of a better word, and thought that it could have easily ended up to be one of those stories that I just didn’t feel the heat between the hero and heroine. I was wrong. It didn’t take long for him to grow on me. He has a past, a dark one that I found quite ensnaring and couldn’t wait to read more about. So yes, if you’re wanting to read a historical and are wanting something different this is definitely an edge of the seat read.

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