We’ve all heard this piece of advice. It gets bandied about like that fruitcake your family has been regifting every Christmas since Reagan held office. But recently, I heard something a little different:
I have a thought about ‘kill your darlings.’ There seems to be a general notion out there in the ether that the phrase means, ‘Hunt down every sentence or image you really love and cut it down like a pernicious weed.’ That, my dears, is bullshit.
In my opinion, what it really means is, ‘If you’re rewriting a whole scene just so that a paragraph or conversation you’re in love with will work, and it still kind of doesn’t, maybe it doesn’t really belong in this story and you should print it out and put it in a lovely, decorative folder labelled DARLINGS to read on those days when you hate every sentence you’re writing.’
—Delia Sherman, American fantasy writer
I love this idea of celebrating and showcasing work you’re proud of even if it doesn’t make your final draft. I also think that we as a writing community are excellent at cheering each other on during the writing part of the process, but that there needs to be more mutual support in the editing stages, too. The less editing sucks, the fewer first drafts are gonna be floating around masquerading as finished manuscripts.
So, it is with this sentiment that I propose the following: Undead Darlings. This is a Twitter event, similar to the daily writing sharing tags, like #2bittues and #1lineWed, but with a bit of a twist.
How it works:
- Every Tuesday, share a ‘darling’ you killed in the editing process. You can share up to a five line paragraph.
- Only one contribution per person, please! I am only one person(and not a very good one at that) and also I don’t want to drown out the #2bittues people.
- Include the hashtag #UndeadDarlings, so I can find you!
- Now for the real twist–by that Friday, I’ll contact one participant for an interview! We’ll talk about your darling, how it met its untimely demise, your editing process, and obviously, anything you wanna promote.
- Your interview will go up the following Tuesday right here! (Yeah, it’s a bit of a turnaround period, but again, I am one person, and I don’t want to rush your post or get overwhelmed and have to shut this down)
So, hopefully, that covers everything, but I’m sure this page will get updated as I figure out why my current plan is a terrible idea. But that’s okay. This blog isn’t called Hearning Curve for nothing, amirite?
Have questions, comments, concerns, calls for my execution?
Thoughts on the ‘Kill Your Darlings’ mentality?
Amazing gifs of Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan?
Put them in the comments below!