Thursday, July 5, 2012

You Can't Just "Kill Your Darlings"

All I have to say about the second article in my post yesterday is that it is one of the most influential articles on my writing thus far. Which surprises me because I've read the usual standbys-On Writing by Stephen King, The Elements of Style, the Paris Review interviews, NYTimes articles, Huffington Post articles on advice from writers etc-. And maybe it's because this article wasn't so much on how to craft your book but literally how to write productively. The number one rule for how to be a writer is WRITE. So, logically I guess I see why this article was so profound to me.

   I guess I should confess, too, that one of my hardest battles in writing is maintaining direction. I have so many "drafts" clouding up my hard drive and sitting in piles under my desk, in my room, in the corner, etc.. It's so frustrating to have a few hours a day (usually at great sacrifice of sleep esp for a pregnant gal) and to write a sizable amount of text only to realize at the end of the day that my character wouldn't react that way or that I've spent too much time on world building and no action. I know any writing done is helpful but I can't help but feel that at that point, looking back, the day and sacrifice made to write was a waste. Because at the end of the week when I've gotten 10,000 or however many words and lack of planning or direction cuts them all, it's like running a treadmill but never loosing a pound.

  So what I've taken from the article is that I need to be more methodical. Not to squelsh the ole inspiration and creativity but that if I want to write "for real" (and that is the goal here) that maybe too much creedence is given to "inspirational flow" and " writing from the well" and more emphasis needs to be placed on structure and intelligent examination of a WIP. And that when that happens, the rest will follow and be allowed to thrive.

 To tell a story well, the popular phrase is you have to "kill your darlings". But more than that, you've really got to look at how you're going to do it, why you are and what is the best build-up to get there so that your reader is absolutely hooked when you do it.

 In closing, here is one of my new favorite songs/writing inspirations that I've listened to a gazillion times this week:

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