Thursday, February 21, 2008

Casualties of Writing

You've probably heard the rule "kill your darlings." It doesn't mean that you have to nix every sentence that you find particularly grand and wonderful. While every writer may have a tendency to wax flowery and verbose now and then, not everything that comes out of those wild moments of inspiration is garbage. It's just that sometimes we love our work so very much that we lose the ability to see when something we wrote just isn't hitting the mark--or when it's hit the mark so hard that the mark has been obliterated.

I've thrown out pages before, and I'll do it again. It's just sad that the words on the page--or this blog, for that matter--represent minutes of my life that I'll never get back. I hate throwing out words because when I do that, I'm throwing away minutes, half-hours, hours of precious time. But when it's necessary to make the story better, it's necessary, full stop.

What brought this on? I'm about to kill a page. Not too much of a sacrifice; it could have been a whole scene or chapter. But I didn't get a lot of writing time today, and man, do I hate to throw it down the virtual shredder.

I started the scene in the wrong place, is all. Sometimes it's necessary to expend effort on something that later must be ditched. If it helps you find your starting point or better understand a character or situation, then it was worth the sacrifice. The paragraph or page or scene was a casualty of writing. But it's okay; revision is part of writing. Often, it's not the writing that's great, but the rewriting.


carmsmars said...

Hi Pooka,

When are you expecting news from your agent about your first book? Anytime soon? I'm waiting in anticipation for you.
best regards

KHurley said...

Hi Carmsmars,

I'm never sure exactly when I'll hear from my agent. We don't have a regular check-in time for updates. I usually call him whenever I'm really desperate for an update, or when I have something to send him. I try not to bother him too much in between, because I know he has quite a few other clients and is often swamped. If something major happens with the book, of course, he'll call. At this point, all I know is that he should be beginning to send the book out to publishers, and they often take a long time to read manuscripts and then get back to agents. Publishing is a very slow business when you're on the waiting end (groan!) Thanks for the good thoughts, however; they always help!