Writing Advice

how I became a killer

I just sat down at my laptop and realised I’d started my novel in the wrong place. I was going to have to ‘kill my darlings’.

Luckily I haven’t written much so it wasn’t too painful to cut those first few pages.

Every writer has to kill their darlings at some point, but this is the first time I’ve been faced with scrapping more than a paragraph. And even though I didn’t totally trash them (they’re in a different Word document since I couldn’t face deleting them forever) it still felt pretty crappy to have to start again.

I can’t help but think, if it feels so wrong to murder a couple of pages, imagine how painful it must be to massacre a whole chapter (or multiple chapters for that matter).

But whatever way I look at it, I’m a killer. I kill ideas and lines and similes in my head all the time, squeeze the life-blood from them before they even get to the page.

It doesn’t matter how many character corpses we dump on the back roads, or how many plots we toss into the river, murder is a part of good writing. And if the authorities catch us we can all plead insanity.

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8 thoughts on “how I became a killer

  1. Great subject line. You totally had me fooled as to what you were going to be talking about. Excellent reminder that, whether we care to believe it or not, everything we write isn’t awesome. Some of it’s just bad and therefore does not justify its existence 🙂 Hard thing to do, especially when what we’re killing is a particularly nifty piece of writing that has no reason to exist beyond the fact that we like it …

    • Totally! I’m just glad that I realised where I’d gone wrong and that I had enough sense to see that (even though it was tough to get rid of what I’d written) it had to be done for the piece to be any good. Recognising when your writing is average is hard, but scrapping it can be even harder. Of course we get attached to what we write, but sometimes we’ve got to embrace that cold hearted killer and cut it out :] It’s for the greater good!

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