confidence editing first draft productivity

Write perfectly, or write quickly?

Some authors have the ability to pump out five thousand or ten thousand words a day. Some authors agonize over each sentence on the page.

What’s the reason? Is one approach better than the other? Is there a happy middle-ground?

Photo by Cris Ovalle on Unsplash
editing fiction revision

How and why you should kill your darlings

You’ve probably heard it before. Kill your darlings. Murder them, as some say. Inflict violence on those that you care most about. Do bad things to the ones you love.

What on earth is going on? Are writers destined to be violent people? Isn’t writing a peaceful solitary process?

Of course, this isn’t a literal statement. We’re talking about your writing here, after all.

In writing, you must kill all your darlings.

William Faulkner

Writers (and fans of writers) have a penchant for drama, as expected. We’d prefer to talk about the writing process in an exciting way, especially when compared to the reality in which we sit in a chair and pore over half-empty pages for hours at a time.

So what’s meant by killing your darlings, and why would you ever do such a thing?

Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash
character editing

Dealing with a boring main character

When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.

Ernest Hemingway

The clouds overhead begin to part as the alien vessel’s hull emerges. Weeks of radio transmissions warned us that this day would come. The scientific community has been rallying behind an elite team of brilliant minds seeking salvation while nations around the world put their disagreements aside in the hope of saving the world. Armies are desperately attempting to finding ways to work together as charismatic leaders try to spread hope among their troubled populations.

Who would you choose for your protagonist here? A genius who’s struggled to find academic success but just might have the one key to saving humanity? What about the prime minister of a global superpower? Do you go with a soldier who has to choose between leading the charge against the invading forces or staying behind with her family?

Or did you accidentally start with Jimmy, the complacent guy who seemed interesting but now just wants to watch the whole thing on TV?

What do you do when your story is compelling but your main character feels like a boring spectator?