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Showing posts from November, 2019

Killing All Those Little Darlings

Aside from the admonition to write what you know, the most common writing advice is to kill all your little darlings. There's a certain poetic violence to the phrase, attributed to William Faulkner, meant to remind writers to be mercenary when it comes to revision. That wonderful little scene that doesn't quite fit in the narrative? Kill it. That image you spent five hours honing until it was just right, the one describing the gravy congealing on the plate? It takes the steam right out of that dinner scene you need to be fraught with tension. Cut it and don't look back. Sometimes the things we love the most are the very things we need to omit in service of the story.

But it hurts so bad. Maybe the more it hurts to cut something, the more it needs to be cut. I think that's the case with a pet scene from my work-in-progress novel. Near the beginning of The Year of the Possum (I think that title might actually be a little darling itself, but I'll deal with that later)…