Wednesday, January 16, 2013

K is for Killing Your Babies


If you are reading this blog, chances are you already know what this means, so I won't elaborate on the meaning. I'm just going to tell you why it is such a difficult thing for writers to do.

When we start out with a story idea, in the beginning, that's all it is, an idea. Now insert some serious time. Maybe six months? 

During that time while we are compiling our story, in between bouts of creative writing, we will go a length of time where we are doing nothing but thinking about our story. While we eat, sleep, stroll through the park on a bright, sunny day, we are thinking about our story.

Our internal thoughts, released from the chains which previously had us locked to our desk, run free and flow endlessly. These moments produce the fertile grounds which invite the birth of our babies. It's the core of who we are. If we don't have a pen and paper at hand, our minds burst trying to hold on to the thoughts long enough to get home and put fingers to keyboard in order to capture every drop which bleeds from our soul.

Ah ha! I'm so brilliant...THIS is going into my story!

Little do we know, we are inserting ourselves into the story. Most of the time, these snippets have nothing to do with the story. This is where it gets personal. We want the reader to know us, to invite us into their homes, to enjoy our company and the brilliance of our minds. NO! STOP! 

Too late…it's made its way into the story. There it will sit, until it reaches an agent, editor, or critique partner. They will read the inserted material and frown at you.

"I see you've introduced some babies into your story," they will say while striking through some part of your manuscript.

"Wh-whatever do you mean?" Of course, you are sincere in that you are unaware of any babies in your manuscript. The story is about six drunks who find themselves stranded on a deserted island. Of course there are no babies in your story!

When you receive back your edited manuscript, there it is. Your baby, strikethrough all over it. 

They can't mean it! That's the best writing you've ever done in your entire life! That paragraph will make it into the next literary review of *insert name of famous literary magazine of your choice* Are they out of their collective minds?


Actually, they're not. They probably agree, it's beautifully written. It just doesn't belong in THIS story. Nevertheless, no worries. Just kill the baby, place it in your recycle folder, and resurrect it in another story. It's that simple. Now, if only I could finish a story and find out what kind of babies I'll have.

So, how did you react the first time you had to make an edit you didn’t want to make?



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