Sunday, 19 May 2013

The importance of recycling

How many times have you been told to 'kill your darlings' when writing? I was talking about this last week and what I suggested was that you don't kill them but perhaps you move them and I don't mean within the same story. There are times when they just don't belong however beautiful and well crafted they are.

What I suggest you do is create a darlings document. You then can move all these precious words into it as you never know when you might be able to use them again. We all know how hard they were to write in the first place. Why waste them?

As I have already told you I am rewriting again and I have suddenly find a use for elements of a novel I wrote a few years ago. Moments of Disjointed, a novel I am unlikely to ever try and get published, have jumped ship and moved into Trafficking. I did't anticipate this and hadn't thought about Disjointed for ages but then suddenly a scene from that story bounced into my head. A perfect episode that summed up an issue I was having in the rewrite. It gave me the sense of tension I wanted.

But it doesn't just happen in fiction, I have spent the morning beginning to write a chapter I am doing in collaboration with a good friend.  So far again the words I am using have been inspired by text I have used elsewhere. They are not strictly the same ones and are very definitely in a different order but there is an element of inspiration drawn from established 'darlings' that were tucked away in a more recently ignored folder entitled 'PhD bits.' All things that had never quite made it into the final thesis.

See it is all about the recycling and don't be afraid of it.

There is a caveat of course. Don't use those darlings just because you are in love with them however beautiful or clever they are. Even when you move them to a new story, make sure they fit and you are not trying to shoehorn them in. Remember you have plenty of writing life ahead of you when you can utilise them.

White Buffalo 'Wish it were true' .

1 comment:

  1. I remember writing a fantastic breakfast scene once. Everybody but everybody, and even I capitulated in the end, said it wasn't needed.
    I've kept it but never used it. But I did need to write it - it was important back-story for me and helped me build my characters.
    I've also kept a folder of "deleted scenes" for one novel that is going to have a web site to support it. A bit like with DVDs.