My darlings are strangling my sweethearts

So in my fabulous writing course I’ve found some of the participants have provided a couple of aha moments. One in particular had me nodding sagely in agreement, how wise I thought, how insightful. Right up until two hours later when I found myself in the same situation and I was far less understanding.

One of the other writers was relaying how she had followed some of the plotting and structure advice we’d received in the previous class and as a result had been forced to get rid of some of the writing she was most proud. We know what that’s called don’t we fellow frustrated writers, yes, she’d had to kill some of her darlings. However, she assured us that it turns out she wasn’t killing her darlings, it was her darlings that were strangling her sweethearts.

Ah, yes, sage nods, wise, knowing acknowledgment.

Later in the class we did a writing exercise. And strike me if it wasn’t a good one, it worked really well for me, unfortunately it probably means I’m about to lose the first 10 pages of my manuscript. Ah crap. There’s some seriously good stuff in those pages. Aww man.

Those darlings, can I really kill them off, are they really strangling my sweethearts?

That’s 10 pages people, 10 pages single spaced, 11 point. Just shy of 5,000 words. Sure some of it I can rework a bit and reposition but I may lose some great lines, like

I steel my shoulders and my nerves, remind myself that I love my mother, and weave my way through the tables, catching the eye of the sommelier as I go.

And

Let’s face it, my participation in this conversation is not really required, or perhaps even desired.

and

When I tumble into bed at night, exhausted at the effort of yet another day not writing, there it is blink, blink, blink.

I’ll live, I’m sure, even if some of, even a lot of, my early pages don’t.

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6 responses to “My darlings are strangling my sweethearts

  1. Sorry. Just beginning to have an understanding of the pain when someone critiques one of our babies.

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  2. Hey, it’s even worse when it’s characters. 🙂

    My beta readers are all in agreement (well, the ones who haven’t vanished off the face of the interwebs) that there are some characters who have to go in my mystery story book. Sigh. Well, it’s not like killing them, since they’re in other books and stories, but I think they do need to be kicked out of this one. (At least the betas agree on which ones need to go).

    I do like those lines, especially the second one. You should post it at Laura Stanfill’s “Line of the Week” post: http://laurastanfill.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/line-of-the-week-3/

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    • Funny thing, one of the other class members was advised to kill off one of her protagonist’s parents. Apparently mum and dad were similar to each other and having two didn’t really add any extra dynamic, so she literally killed the dad in the story!

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