Killing Some Darlings

My working binder.

My work in process binder.

I just opened Scrivener for the first time since I compiled the “full draft” for the writing competition I entered in May. A lot of writers find it is helpful to set a work aside for a while before a revision. This time away helps the writer gain some objective distance from the work. This distance helps us, or me at least, to detach from the minutia of the work. When I’ve just written something, I have a really clear idea of what it is I think I am writing. My knowledge and imagination fill in the gaps my actual words are leaving out.

I set today as my official “return to work on the novel day” back when I closed Scrivener and sent the document off to the contest. I knew I’d want some time to just let things settle, plus, I knew I’d be getting valuable feedback from the contest in August. Why work hard on making revisions knowing I’d be doing it all over? Besides, it was summer. We were taking one kid off to college and schlepping the other to camps and activities. I’ve never been good at writing with other people around, so I just formally decided to not even try.

In August, I got a personal review of my submission by the judge, Robert Dugoni. If you like a good page turner, I suggest you give him a read. The contest committee also gave me some very interesting things to consider. Then, I attended the Writer’s Police Academy in North Carolina last week. I KNEW that was going to give me a bunch of needed information on police procedure that I had been missing–and it did!

So, now, here I am back at home, ready to begin the next major overhaul of this novel. I’m hoping to be done with it by the end of October so I can spend NaNoWriMo roughing out the second book in the series.

In case you’re wondering about the title of this blog post…”Killing your darlings” is the phrase we use when you have to get rid of sentences, paragraphs, or whole chapters of writing (or characters, sub-plots etc.) when they no longer fill any purpose in the story. I find this much easier to do with some time between writing them and cutting them.

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