Dead Darlings

When I began the project I’m editing at the moment, there was one scene that for me summed up perfectly what I wanted the story to be about. It was the heart and the touchstone. It was the workings of the whole thing in microcosm. And it was literally the first thing I wrote when put fingers to keys; before even the first draft of the story itself, in a weird, non-story sketch piece that I knocked up to see if the whole thing had wings. I decided it did and the scene was transplanted into the story itself, and it’s survived every revision since. Until now.

This is the first time I’ve ever faced the necessity of murdering my darlings, (removing, painfully, the bits of a story that the writer personally loves but are hampering the whole). Kinda hurts, but I know it’s the right thing to do. It doesn’t matter that that scene is one of my favourite things that I’ve ever written. It doesn’t matter that it actually works as a thematic heart of the story. It has to go. The scene’s inclusion slows the narrative and distracts the reader from the unfolding story just at the point where things are getting interesting.

It’s my Tom Bombadil (you may not think that part of LoTR was cut from the book but believe me that whole sorry detour was skipped every time *I* read it), and, in the end, it’s just not fucking necessary.

Ah weel, p’raps it’ll make a standalone story.


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