I had to kill them. All of them. This is the only way to make it better apparently. It’s been hard and I think there might still be a few left, but the majority are gone now. It was my mum and Stephen King who encouraged me to do it. I owe them. Things are going to be much clearer from now on.
And just incase you think I’ve finally gone round the twist and become a serial killer like Charles Manson (who, incidently, I share a birthday with), ‘murdering my darlings’ is a metaphor. It means taking out all of your ‘best bits’ when it comes to writing. All those unnecessary adverbs and adjectives. All that annoyingly flowery loquacioness and those seemingly, completely irrelevant descriptions. See? It only causes clutter in a sentence.
This week I have been reading ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. It has helped me more than any text book, writing guide or journalism course ever has. The first half is autobiographical and very funny. The second half is advice for aspiring writers. It covers all the nuts and bolts of writing: style, dialogue, narration, editing, proofreading. The book is aimed at wannabe fiction writers – I’ve never considered writing fiction but I’m feeling rather inspired to after reading it. My mother has also been dishing out advice. She calls every Sunday evening and critiques my latest blog posts: “You write really well my darling, but you tend to be rather… verbose.” Ouch. I know she feels bad criticising my work, but she knows and I know that she is right. I am ever grateful for her advice. Your best critics are usually those closest to you.
So there is a possibility I might try my hand at writing a novel. I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to write about and I wouldn’t expect any Booker Prize nominations just yet.. (I can dream can’t I?) And for those who read my writing, please do let me know if I’ve left any ‘darlings’ alive.