No, I’m not going on a diet. The sweets I’m cutting out are of a purely literary variety.
That’s right, it’s revision time!
Call it what you will: killing your darlings, killing your babies (I have real babies, so I don’t particularly enjoy this one), whatever – it all comes down to the same thing: eliminating precious snippets of text you’ve spent hours creating in order to improve your story.
If you read last week’s Goal! post (ha, ha goalpost!), you know I’ve been working hard on revising my MG Fantasy. And one of the things I’ve been working on is finding my voice. My story is written from two (alternating) perspectives and, up until now, they’ve kind of sounded the same. Which is bad. One character grew up in the slums, while the other grew up fairly well off. They have different backgrounds, different interests, different everything. Except voices.
The voice they share is pretty close to my more educated character, so now I’m going through the manuscript and trying to adjust my street rat’s voice. The problem? It means cutting out so many nice turns of phrase. Lines I carefully crafted until they sounded just right. Metaphors my crit partners complimented me on.
But, as beautiful as those lines might be, they’re not things my character would say. So, they’re gone.
Every last lovely word of them.
Seriously, though. I can see my manuscript getting better with every change. As pretty as those lines were, they were making my story ugly.
Maybe someday I’ll be able to work some of those fantastic phrases into another story. But only if it’s true to the character.
What do you think? Have you ever had to cut out a sweet, sweet line? Kill a darling phrase? How do you cope with the pain of killing your “babies”? I’m thinking some chocolate might be called for…