How to murder our darlings ?

Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Than_urb, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    I like that, feel it applies. Of those I guess the skim reader's a jaywalker and the other's the guy at the crossing right-clicking the red man and choosing 'lookup'.

    I don't know the precise reason the sentiment toward darlings is so negative nowadays. Maybe it's because there's a lot out there that's fist-gnawingly bad; the lesser-practiced efforts of the hopeful and the aspirant, lost in delusion, pushing, too early, their stuff before the unwitting/un-wanting/soon the be confused reader. And so it gets read, dismissed, derided even. Attitudes are compounded and the jaywalker strides again. For me a writer should earn their 'poetic licence'.

    Bearing in mind the above it's understandable the no nonsense approach wins out — the propulsion of a story from beginning to end. And with that being so, has it being just so. Personally I want something with a bit of nonsense, some rhapsody, a bit of wax (highly buffed) on the lyrical. Modern life—bluergh—with less time to squander, mooting of points, and spotting of literary devices, for one to ponder—I get that that's why. Well I guess that that's why. But I like the charm that comes from a well-crafted elaborate piece. Purple, most often (imho), is the colour.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  2. Than_urb

    Than_urb New Member

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    Never heard of him but I should probably take a look closer to his writing.
    And talking about it, there is that famous quote from Antoine De Saint Exupéry: "Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away".
     
  3. Than_urb

    Than_urb New Member

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    I totally agree on that point. Readers don't want a linear story or (worst) a smoothy one. And that's probably why we love Bukowski (read Pulp if you didn't read it yet, a masterpiece of the twisted mind).
     
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  4. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Banned Contributor

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    1. Congratulations

    2. Well... You know.... First thing is to remember that "kill your darlings" is only about text, not people.

    Sanelli laudalla-1424.jpg
    © Alan Aspie

    In real life, it's not your darlings but.... Sorry! My mind was wandering.

    You might get that mindset by taking some distance to your text.

    Let if boil few weeks in your shelf. Write something else in that time.

    Let your alpha readers read it. Ask them to write and make markings directly to the pages. Read it several times. Make your own markings.

    You can redo some structural work with it. Write a synopsis by cutting the story to the level of 2-5% of the whole story.

    You cant outsmart the hard work part of writing. "Writing is rewriting" really means several rewritings, not several polishing rounds. And to rewrite you must do your structural work in some part of your workflow.

    Take away everything you can take away. If you can take awoy something and you do take it away, you story will be better.
     
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  5. Solar

    Solar Contributor Contributor

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    Train yourself to recognise good writing. Then do it.
     
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  6. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    that's not terribly useful advice because 'good writing' is itself a subjective thing
     
  7. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Nothing like distance to make murdering your darlings easy. Wait till you no longer recall how you felt when you were writing them. "Hey, I don't remember you. You're no longer my darling. Cheerio...."
     
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  8. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    Ha, absence makes the heart go wander...

    :)
     
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  9. HeathBar

    HeathBar Member

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    A thousand times this:
    And it works over and over again (even on the same material). I read this everywhere when I completed the first draft (years ago), but didn't get it. But now, three years and a gazillion drafts later, I completely understand and endorse the need for distance. At least for me, it's extremely difficult to assess what I've written if I've just written it. I would also suggest trying to write a short synopsis of your work after you've finished (or write how you think it could be described on the book jacket). I wish I had done this earlier in the process, because I think it would have revealed certain structural issues that I otherwise didn't catch until after many, many rounds of edits and readers and distance and changes, etc.
     
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  10. Than_urb

    Than_urb New Member

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    You all agree on the distanciation and it's really helping (thank you guys).
    I already spent 2 months writing on my second novel, waiting for feedbacks from my alpha readers. I am finishing my second version now and as I need a third one, I plan to spend the 2 weeks before reading (The Stranger from Albert Camus, On Writing from Hemingway...) but it sounds a little too short.
    What do you think about it ?
     
  11. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Banned Contributor

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    Test it and you get the best answer.

    If you can't see your mannerism, it must boil more.
     
  12. Than_urb

    Than_urb New Member

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    Hmm... Didn't think about it but definitely a good idea, thanks !
     
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  13. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    How do you murder your darlings. I think it's best to do it in a divine way and then forget they ever existed.
     
  14. al-khataei

    al-khataei New Member

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    I am saying from my personal experience. DON'T DELETE.
    I made four chapters on Mongol Golden Horde, and I deleted!

    Why? Just because I thought it was a waste.
    Now, I realise that I could have developed it later.
     

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