Flaying My Darlings

empty lotThis week has been a little nerve-wracking in terms of my writing. Not because I didn’t get time to write. I actually got plenty of time this week. I even did a very unAmerican thing and skipped watching the Superbowl in order to write.

No my frustrations started earlier last week. In last week’s post I said I had planned to import my manuscript to the Kindle so I could read it before bed. Now, I’m no slouch when it comes to techie-type stuff, but getting my Kindle app to read my story proved excessively trying. I managed it, though. I might even recount how I did it in a later post if anyone is interested.

Once I started to re-read my story, the urge to revise overtook me. Admittedly, this wasn’t my first attempt at it. In fact, I’m calling this draft 2.1 in my Scrivener project folder. 2.0 fizzled three or so chapters in.

So there I was, sitting in a cafe, ready to re-imagine the story in which I had poured hours, days, and years of my life and free time. My fingers held frozen over my keyboard for what felt like an hour, waiting for me to do it. And by “do it,” I mean torturing my own soul.

You’ve heard the term “kill your darlings,” right? Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch first mentioned this quip in answer to cutting your story down to what’s actually important. Ditching the fluff, so to speak.

What I felt I was about to do was more like flaying rather than killing. I wasn’t getting rid of my story or elements of it. I was recreating it. Peeling away the skin and exposing the tender flesh beneath. Seeing if looks better.

That first line was the hardest. I don’t like it, but kept it in the name of moving forward. And move forward I did. It’s coming along at a pace I’m hoping will pick up as I get used to the carnage.

I’ll continue with this for as long as it takes. I’ve also decided not to share much of it with my beta readers until I get a good chunk, I’m talking at least a third, of it done. Sorry Amys. I’ve also devised a way to visually show you my progress in future posts. You’ll have to come back to see for yourself.