Writing

Killing My Darlings

Today I’ve decided to do one of the most painful things I’ve yet done in my writing career. I am about to effectively delete 20,000+ words. Of course, I’ll still have them in another document in case I ever need them for something, but most of them will no longer have a place in my book. Why, you might ask? Because, as they say, to be good writers, we must kill our darlings. And I realized today, after struggling to rewrite this section for the last week, that it really holds no place in my book.

I am, of course, talking about Picture of the Past. It is time to truly edit the book and as part of that, I am rewriting full sections…but I was having a lot of trouble rewriting and couldn’t figure out why. Finally, today, I realized exactly why. Because I wrote the original version of these words a decade ago, and I am a very different–technically, better–writer now. And while I love the way I wrote much of it, I realized that most of the reason I like it is because of nostalgia. I’ve been tweaking the same words for over ten years, and while they are better than the original, they are still stale. Immature. And above all, move things at a glacial pace. And that’s when I realized…I had to just erase them and start over, because if I were writing the book now, I would have started at a different place, and more importantly, a different pace.

And so, the whole Part One of my book is being rewritten, complete with almost entirely different scenes, if the same characters. I’ve no doubt it will be a better book when I am finished, but it still hurts. So, as part of the mourning ceremony, below is a portion that I am deleting. No doubt you’ll all know why as soon as you read it–not only is it omniscient perspective (which, apparently, we writers are not permitted to do anymore), but it is a whole lot of showing rather than telling. Not to mention there are so many ways to weave this information into much more active, hopefully compelling, scenes. But there’s still a part of me that loves it. Sharing it with you all (to pretend to love it as well, of course) is to help me say goodbye.

I only hope I don’t have to do the same to Part Two.

The sun shone brightly, if coldly, its rays glittering like diamonds across the frosted trees, making rainbows from the icicles that hung off the branches. The resulting beauty was unnoticed by the two young ladies, bundled against the sharp breeze in heavy wool cloaks, feather-tipped hats, and fur muffs, strolling down well-shoveled paths.
The park in which they walked had been designed specifically for Brambleton, to serve as a haven where gossips, friends, and lovers alike could find hidden nooks or open passages for conversation or other modes of communication.
In the middle of winter, it was far less occupied than in summer and Elizabeth and Anastasia were taking advantage of the quiet to discuss all the things they liked least about the other girls in the neighborhood, as well as those they liked best about the young men.
It was a natural meeting place for them, placed almost precisely between their two houses. It was where they had first met at age ten when the Johnsons had moved into the upscale neighborhood in New York City, and there they had continued to meet on an almost daily basis.
The girls’ strong personalities had naturally made them a team and together, they set the standard for the neighborhood girls, with Elizabeth subtly recognized as the leader in both fashion and magnetism. Both were wealthy, beautiful, and unapologetically enjoyed the attention bestowed by young men and women alike.
Anastasia’s long, brown curls, golden-tinted skin, and almond shaped eyes, with lashes that surpassed even Elizabeth’s, were the envy of all who saw her. However, her short, broad-boned structure gave the impression of being heavy-set, though her curves were in perfect proportions. It was just enough, though, to set Elizabeth as the superior with her tall, lithe figure, silky straight ebony hair, flawless ivory skin, and a graceful demeanor that exuded ease and charm so long as she was pleased.

2 thoughts on “Killing My Darlings

  1. Oh my goodness! I can only imagine how difficult this is for you! I know your new version of this beginning is going to be absolutely captivating though. You ARE a talented writer, and as such you aren’t satisfied giving less than what you are now able to give. I can hardly wait until the day I hold your book in my hands. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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