Monday, February 3, 2014

~ The Art of Editing in the Rain ~

'Kill your darlings, kill your darlings; even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler's heart, kill your darlings.'
                                                     -Stephen King

Why that title for this post? I just love the sound of the words. I stole them from 'The Art of Racing in the Rain' by Garth Stein. ( a fabulous book, written by a dog) It's not plagiarism if you admit to stealing, is it? But once I borrowed the title I thought I would just continue with the theme of race car driving and merge
 ( see what I did there?) it into my thoughts on editing.

Whether racing or editing there are some similar things to watch out for:

When to let off the gas
When to go full steam ahead
Watch out for those tricky corners
Keep the Finish Line in sight

The hardest thing to come to terms with is: 'What to purge what to keep??? But as Stephen King so delicately put it above, sometimes you have to be ruthless. Case in point, I had several beautiful pages that were drop dead good and I was IN LOVE with those words. But come to find out.....they didn't actually belong in this book. I was shocked to find that out. And as much as it hurt my little fingers to press the 'delete' button, I had to do it. So the words I loved fell from the pages onto the cutting room floor. But I carefully swept them up, and I will use them somewhere else where they were meant to shine. 

As long as I'm still editing, the story continues and my characters live.The hardest part is knowing when you're done. If I'm editing I am still in contact with my characters, and the truth is I don't want to say good-bye. So for now we are still visiting daily, I am not yet ready to close the book and send them away. But soon, very soon. 


  1. I once worked in a publications department at the Smithsonian Institution. My goodness, that was a tough job!! The curators definitely did not like the editors tweaking their words. Yes, keep calm and edit later :)

    1. Loi,
      No...we do not like it one bit! But that's the nature of the beast. Meanwhile, I'm busy....snip....snip

  2. Kill your darlings...but what if they're all essential to the storyline? Should we have a character like the ones in Star Trek? You know, the one in the red shirt always gets killed...or the new recruit...or the one Captain Kirk just boinked. Better keep Francis and Frances out of red!!! :-) Still waiting impatiently.... *drumming fingers*

    1. Rex said he was very concerned, since I always call him 'My Darling.' Fortunately Stephen King was talking about words...not characters. LOL


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