Blood on My Hands
Written by
Raine Fraser
October 2019
Written by
Raine Fraser
October 2019

I'm revising a manuscript; preparing it for a beta reader. A lot of darlings are being killed.

The first time I killed darlings nearly did me in. I loved the story and couldn't have been more attached to the characters if they'd come from my own body. (Which they did.) But there were large swaths of story which didn't work. Darlings absolutely had to go. I resisted; the prospect made me shaky. I worried there would be no story left. I cursed. I mourned. But I did it and was left -no surprise - with a stronger story.

Darlings don't die in vain. They aren't always sacrificed because they're necessarily worthless. But when they don't truly serve the story, they have to go. And it is a little easier to kill darlings now. One of my Studio principles is that no effort is ever wasted. More than once, a character or bit of dialogue, even whole scenes, have re-emerged to snap seamlessly into another story. Knowing dead darlings can be resurrected eases the pain.

Now I must have some more coffee and sharpen my knives. There are more unsuspecting darlings to take out.




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  • Raine Fraser Writing

    Thanks, Juanita. I've noticed that people who know writing but don't write use the phrase quite blithely. Someone who writes may know it's necessary to kill darlings, but they always say it with some heaviness.

  • Great post. Killing my darlings often derails my editing and revising. It is quite painful as you illustrated:)