Sunday, February 20, 2011

Killing a Darling

I've just started the first round of edited revision on SPIES.  As much a I can't wait to be on the other side of this revision with a finished manuscript in hand, revision is my favorite part of the writing process.  The first draft hurts because it's both overwhelming and unknown.  But revision, revision is where a manuscript becomes a book, where characters become real, where plots have a purpose and where stories come to life.

I love discovering the hidden depths of my characters and the deeper meaning behind my stories.  I love exploring themes and plot threads in more detail.  I love adding layers that make the story richer and more complex.

Bur Revision is hard too.  Not every scene, or plot thread, or character serves the story.  And it can be hard to let them go.

One of my favorite characters got cut today.  It was my idea to cut him, because the overall story loses nothing from his absence.  He was a literal darling, brightening every scene he was in with a touch of humor. He didn't serve any purpose that wasn't being fulfilled by another character though and I needed to simplify.

I've cut characters from manuscripts before.  Body counts are nothing new for my revision process.  But this one hurt more than the others because I loved him so much. 

So tonight I raise a glass to Jason Hiles, thank him for the laughs and friendship, and send him into literary limbo.  For now.  He'll be back.   

And I promise him one hell of a storyline.


  1. Cutting a character! GASP! And here I thought killing a complete chapter was painful.

  2. Shari, I'm still not over it. Logically, I know it was the right thing to do, but it still hurts.

  3. I haven't yet had to commit character-i-cide yet, but only because I had just a handful to start with in my first book. I'm sure my day will come though!

  4. Heather,

    I think you've coined an new term. Charectericide! I love it. Not the killing off characters, but the word is awesome.