Monday, November 11, 2013

Rest in Pieces, Literary Darlings! And our BIG winner...

First, a little happy housekeeping:

Congratulations, Wendi! 
You are the winner of a signed copy of Olivia Twisted by the fabulous Vivi Barnes!
We'll get that book out to you this week. Yay! :)

And now....

Rest in Pieces, Darlings.

We writers can be a very self-deprecating bunch, but sometimes—just sometimes!—we actually like what we’ve written. Occasionally we even, dare I say, get attached to a certain sentence or passage. But then you get feedback. It’s just not working. And even worse— you have the inexplicable urge to disregard any edits/suggestions/bribes to revise. 

You’ve been smitten by a dreaded darling.  
You know what comes next. Kill your darlings, they say. And they’re right, whoever they are. But don’t stop there. 

Learn from your darling. 

See those lines from my manuscript posing so nicely in the fake Polaroid over there? That was a darling. My scene-setting darling that I couldn’t believe every single member of my critique group said had to go. It stung, but when I stopped explaining why I'd written what I had and listened,
Keep in mind this is 1st Draft material here. :)
I learned a few things. 

The first was actually pretty obvious once they pointed it out:

  1.     I like describing setting. A lot. Apparently I’d already set the scene three paragraphs up, and did just fine, so no need to beat the reader over the head. (my characters were on a creek bed, and lemme tell ya, I can go ON about it)  

This first point led to a great conversation, which led to me this bit of insight:

  2.      Uh, I’d done this before. It was darn near becoming predictable. Right before an intense scene, WOW do I like to set the stage.

Which finally led to this revelation
  3.    My desire to over-describe was killing my tension. I had the readers ready to dive into this perilous scene and wham! More imagery. No action. This was an invaluable habit to recognize. And it all stemmed from analyzing my darling. 

Darlings can stand a little scrutiny. Try these three tips to help cope with your next emotional editorial roadblock: 

Study your darling’s behavior. Is there a trend in what turns up in your darling file?

Dissect your darling. Maybe there’s jewel in your darling. Maybe you can harvest a few words or an idea to build a super Franken-darling that will fit into your scene.  

Cryogenically freeze your darling.  Heck, maybe this just isn’t the right chapter or manuscript for THAT phrase or THOSE lines of dialogue. Don’t delete. Tuck your darling away in a folder to be revisited. It somehow feels better just knowing that darling is relaxing somewhere, waiting to be called in to the big game. 

What do YOU do when a darling appears on your pages?  


  1. I totally want to build a "a super Franken-darling" now! LOL!

    It's funny how we fight like crazy to keep our darlings. For me, I often don't even recognize them until after I spent FOREVER coming up with ways and/or reasons to keep to them to no avail. I really like what you said about "study your darling's behavior". Seeing one for what is it early on can save a ton of time! :)

  2. I love this! I've never thought of analyzing my dearly departed darlings, though I do keep them all in a separate file. Must do this in the future.

  3. Ha ha I love this! Cryogenically freeze your darlings! I kind of do that - I have a "pieces and parts" file that I throw things I cut out into. But I very rarely ever go back and visit them. I guess that's how it's meant to be!
    And congrats to Wendi! =)

  4. Ahhh, "Franken-darling"! Perfect!

    I keep a separate folder for all my deleted darlings. I've had scenes reappear in completely different stories, so I refuse to toss them out.

  5. LOL! "super Franken-darling"! I love it! :) Seriously love the way you talked about our darlings.