I confess. I did it. I hacked ’em to pieces. Like a knife wielding maniac, my finger found the delete button on my keyboard and hit it again and again and again until it was done. I had killed my darlings. Here’s how the disaster took place.

It’d been about two weeks since I sat down with the manuscript to For The Most Part. Having bled all over the first three chapters with my red sharpie, I debated on whether or not to go back to the file and edit those chapters AGAIN or start fresh today by picking up with the fourth chapter. I chose the latter and discovered it was the most boring thing I’d ever read. For a second, I thought it was just my mood today. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for writing and editing. I’ve had a bit of writer’s block funk the past few days but it’s because my mind has been thinking about other projects when I really should finish this one.

I cleared the dining room table and laid out each chapter of the manuscript. I quickly decided to give the ax to one character all together. This book is a family saga about a mother and five children. Each chapter is told from a different character’s point of view. The younger brother, Sebastian, only had one chapter from his point of view. Although he makes appearances in other chapters and is mentioned amongst the other characters, I decided he had to go. Delete! Delete! Delete! Sebastian died a horrible death and all that is left of him is destined for the white paper recycle bin at work tomorrow.  So now there are only four children.

After thumbing through the manuscript and deleting his scenes wherever I could find them, it brought the manuscript from 83,000 words down to only 70,000!  EEK!  And I’m not done yet.  In order to remove the “Peyton Place” like qualities according to feedback I’ve gotten, I’m also going to remove the part about the youngest sibling being adopted.  If I keep going, I’ll have to rewrite half the book.  Isn’t this fun?



  1. *grins* I did this to a manuscript of mine from a couple years ago, only a little more drastic–I realized the main character/narrator made the story weak. I rewrote and removed her, promoted one of the subnarrators to first place. The story was MUCH better for it. But when I tell people, they’re like, you did what??? Congratulations on having the nerve to do the dirty work that needs to be done.

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