The Process Writing

#writing: Kill Your Darlings (The Mourning Doesn’t Last Forever)

May 1, 2017

Here’s a little snippet of #writing encouragement I sent out into the Interwebs waaaaay back in 2011. Someone asked if they could read it again, so I dug it out of the archives. If you’re a writer looking at a manuscript that needs 10k, 15k, 50k, or even 100k words cut (which has 100% happened to me, oh yes), this post is for you.


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For the past two months, I’ve been neck deep in revisions. Like this ↓


But I have some good news.


(with the current round of revisions at least)

So now I’m all… ↓


Words cannot express how happeeeeee I’m feeling at the moment. I had an entire weekend to myself, away from the computer. I forgot I was a writer and enjoyed some 3D time in the real world. My eyes, and my husband, thanked me.

With a whopping 20,000 words cut, my manuscript is now down to a manageable length. I had to kill a lot of darlings (scenes I loved but detracted from the central plot line), but I’m good with it.

And you will be too.

No, really.

Cutting lovely scenes or details or conversations or plot lines you cherish hurts for a while, but the mourning doesn’t last forever. You’ll move on and write more lovely words. I guarantee.

Your end reader won’t miss those scenes, anyway. They were for you—special moments you and your characters shared together.

And that’s OK.

Be thankful you had those moments and move on. Write for yourself, revise for the reader. If you go into this process knowing you’ll have to kill some of your darlings, revisions will be a whole lot easier.

I promise.


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After many years, I still believe this wholeheartedly.(The manuscript in question was the first draft of ALEX1, btw.) Since then, I’ve had to cut a LOT of scenes, and it hurts every time. But it’s like waxing your legs, baby. It only hurts for a moment, and then, THEN, your manuscript suddenly has Beyoncé legs.


Do yourself — and your book — a favor AND GET SOME BADASS BEYONCE LEGS.

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