Killing Your Darlings

Writing is a bit like giving birth; not just because it’s painful and messy and involves an awful lot of screaming and crying, but because you spend months (or years) of your life bringing a little part of you into the world, and even more time trying to mold it into the best version of itself.

So it’s natural to become attached to your work.

And just like it’s hard to hear criticism of your children, it can be difficult to hear criticism of your writing as well. And even more difficult to act upon that criticism.

Especially if doing so involves killing your darlings.

*Wonders if I should rethink this analogy. Keeps going anyway.*

Where was I again? Oh, right.

Killing your darlings. Deleting or changing beloved words/sentences/paragraphs/chapters/characters/plotlines/etc in your precious, precious work to (gasp!) improve it overall.

In revising my MG Fantasy, I just removed/rewrote my favourite parts: the witty, acerbic dialogue between my two MCs. Why? Well, because critiques had helped me realize their voices were two similar.

As much as I loved seeing my two characters snipe at each other, they couldn’t both be masters of snark. Not only was it confusing for readers, but it went against one MC’s personality. So, it’s gone.

Did it hurt? Damn Skippy.

But is the book better for it? I certainly believe it is.

And, as I enter my (hopefully) final revisions before sending it out into the world, I’ll be looking for more darlings that aren’t contributing to the overall quality of the book. Because no part of your manuscript should be considered too precious to improve* (insert gif of Gollum here).

*Not saying that every critique you receive will be right, or carry the same weight, but if you get multiple critiques of the same issue, it’s definitely worth considering ways to improve things.

 

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February Check-In

January was quite the month this year. On the bright side, between sick days (mine and the rest of the family’s), snow days, and the end of Xmas Holidays, I got a lot (no, really, *a lot* – check out the numbers below) of reading and audiobook-listening done.

But I did also manage to revise SHADOWCATCHERS enough to send it to my critique partner, and now I’m already ploughing (wait, or is it plowing? Is this one of those Canadian/American/British things?) through those revisions.

I’m feeling pretty great about it right now, and I think I’m going to try querying it, so I guess I’ll add “research agents,” “write a query letter,” and “write a synopsis” to my writing goals. Worst case scenario, if no agent wants it because it’s already been on sub in the U.S., I can still submit it to Canadian publishers later.

And that’s where I’m sitting, writing-wise. I’m itching to get started revising my Adult Urban Fantasy – I’ve been bouncing ideas around in my spare time, and I have some great plans for how to fix it up already.

And now for my January Reading Stats:

(Before you get too shocked over these numbers, I’ll point out that I read/re-read a fair number of shorter MG books, that only took and hour or two to get through, as well as some shorter/faster paperback novels. However, I also DNF’d a book at the 16-hour mark, so I feel like that balances things out a little.)

  • MG Fantasy (7)
  • YA Fantasy (3)
  • A Urban Fantasy (3)
  • A Mystery (9)
  • Re-reads (19)
  • DNF (2)

Year to date: 22

Re-reads: 19