On Writing

KILL YOUR DARLINGS

There is an old writing adage that says just that:

“Kill Your Darlings.”

For non-writers, it means that sometimes the writer must kill the thing that they love the most about what they are writing. Be it a character, a chapter, etc.

While watching one of my favorite television shows a new character was introduced. So when the television character’s name was said, I sighed. Not a good sigh. A “are you fucking serious?!?” sigh. How could this character be named this name of all names in the free f’ing world. OF ALL THE NAMES!!

AND THEN…

Another deep breath as I listened and watched the television character’s background being told and seeing the character on the small screen…

If I weren’t currently on a 30 day no booze kick, I would have cracked open the bottle of tequila in my freezer and started doing shots until I vomited in the bushes in my front yard. While in that tequila state of hate, between spewing my guts out and crying to the writing gods and the Universe that it was a cruel joke, I would have been sobbing in a not-so-pretty-way that I was plagiarized and ripped off.

The television’s character is so close to the character that I had created years and I mean YEARS AGO and had finally worked out his fully functioning role in my novel. FINALLY.

There I sat, watching a television character who was in essence to me was my novel’s character on the screen.

I wanted to bang my head against the wall, punch, scream, ninja kick anything and everything. I wanted to cry. I was definitely defeated.

It’s as if I had the wind knocked out of my sails.

All I could hear in my head were they lyrics to the Misfits song, Die Die My Darling on repeat.

With a great sigh of depression, I knew what had to be done. My character that I had developed had to be destroyed. His purpose, all though wonderful, could not and would not work anymore for me. Even though I know when and where this character was created, he didn’t feel original anymore. He was a shell of his former self.

If you’re a writer, you get what losing even 1000 words feels like. Not only was I losing almost 10,000 words, I was losing my character, my villain, my story line.

I may have had to kill my darling, but I also killed a piece of myself, losing that piece…I’m not sure I’ll ever recover from.