I’ve just sent my husband off to day two of his new job while I sit here on day two of my vacation. Still without my van and relying on the goodness of my daughter’s heart to come give me a ride to the gas station. That gas station is an essential part of The Glamorous Life, dammit, and I need to go. I’m still waiting. While I’m waiting, I’m squirming in my chair. Today, I must kill my darlings.
No, not any characters, I kill plenty enough of those. Maybe not in a Martin kinda quota, but I’m good at ending the lives of some of the voices in my head. If they’d only stop coming back as ghosts – for instance, Berto… you shit – I might have some peace and quiet in there.
The version of “darlings” that I mean are my favorite words. Those bits of my writing that I really, really like. Why? Because I like them, nay, love them. Which means I can’t be objective about them. And they need to die to make chapter one stronger. And I can’t. Freaking. Do it.
See, I knew I needed to do this weeks ago and here’s why. Chapter one, of course, was the first chapter written a year ago and it’s just not as strong as the rest of the book. The insane amount of things I’ve learned over the last year have made chapter one weak and the rest so much better. I knew it, and an online friend who beta read for me (name withheld only because I don’t have her permission this morning to mention her by name) confirmed it and told me the same thing, paraphrased, “It’s not as strong as the rest of the novel.”
Honestly, it tickled me shitless that she said it that way — all hail my shared belief of the Fae in the power of words — that the rest of the novel was strong… but! I sat down and started reading this thing yesterday and it hit me even harder that this is true. Chapter two, after not having read it in so long, rocked my SOCKS. Chapter one? Meh. I gotta rewrite it. Here’s the problem:
Chapter one contains some of my most loved “darlings” and those darlings are touched upon in later chapters. So, if I kill those darlings, I have to go forward and kill the baby-darlings. It’s mass murder, I tell you. MURDER.
This shit is hard, yo? And I get to stare at it all fucking day. Then finish the read-over. Then obsess about italics and internal dialog. Then….
There are five days left of my vacation. Glamorous Life… my ass.