As I am pushing forward with a complete overhaul of my first book, Shadow House, I’ve found myself doing one thing more than I ever have before: killing my darlings. Looking over the aftermath of my recent round of revisions, the novel has had significant chunks cut out, meaning it will be completely different by the time I’m finished.
I’ll fully admit that back when I originally wrote the book I didn’t really get what killing my darlings was all about. I thought I’d killed off plenty of them, but that was back when writing two thousand words in a day felt like a huge accomplishment.
As I’ve gone through Shadow House, I’ve looked at each scene, conversation and plot element and asked one critical question: what does it do for the story? Does it further the plot, develop character or add depth? If not, it’s gone.
Killing off some things is harder than others, but letting go is allowing me to make Shadow House the story it always should have been. When I was a new writer, I was afraid to make the cuts, take the risks and do what it took to tell the story that was really in my head and heart. Thanks to years of writing professionally, I’m finding these things come more naturally. It really is a matter of writing and reading constantly, plus refining how and what you write over and over.
I’s ecstatic about the book that’s coming about, but want to make it great before releasing the second edition. As I near finishing the work, I’ll be putting together some fun ways to celebrate, so stay tuned to this blog.