Ask any writer and they will tell you that the hardest part of writing is editing. Otherwise known as killing your darlings, it is much more difficult the just deleting or scratching out areas of the text that need to fixed or removed completely. It is destroying the work that the writer has put blood, sweat and tears into.
Unfortunately, it is part of the writing process, whether we like it or not.
Enter the cut page.
I’ve had cut pages for the last few years and I find them to be helpful. The cut page is a separate document from the document that contains your story. Instead of permanently deleting text that was removed during the editing process, it is saved to perhaps be used at a later date.
Below is an example of the cut page from the story I am presently working on.
One of the things I have learned is that every writer has their own style and their own way of working. For me, that includes having a cut page.
There is a statement in writing that all writers know and dread: kill your darlings.
For the non writers reading this post, it means editing. It is not the easy editing where a writer would correct a spelling or grammatical error. To kill your darlings as a writer is hard editing. It means that the writer is changing a beloved passage or making changes that they didn’t think they needed to make.
I’ve been killing my darlings since January. About six or seven years ago, I wrote a draft of a novel. It is my adaptation of Beauty And The Beast with Bronte-esque elements. In January, I joined a local novel writing group via meetup. I knew at that time that it was nowhere near the point where I felt comfortable sending it out for possible publication. The first meetup confirmed my feelings.
Since then, I have been killing my darlings again and again.
It’s not easy, especially considering the time I put into the novel prior too joining the group. But the effort (and sometimes heartache) is totally worth it. While my novel is still far from the point of sending out for possible publication, it is slowly getting there.
I know that I will have to continue to kill my darlings for as long as it takes. It’s not easy, but if the end result is publication, then it must be done.