Goodbye, My Darling

There’s a fabled piece of writing advice attributed to William Faulkner: “Kill your darlings.” It means, “get rid of the parts of your story you love most if they aren’t serving the story.” Tonight, I killed a darling. In fact, I killed my favorite darling.

Me, trying to hold onto my darling.  Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

Me, trying to hold onto my darling.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

Five years ago, the main character in my current WIP (work-in-progress) introduced himself to me. I could see him vividly. His voice was crystal clear. His surroundings, sharp.

I was working on another novel at that time, so I fought him off. Told him to wait his turn. But he’s an ornery one and kept yapping at me, kept insisting I tell his story. When I finally sat down to do just that, that introduction became the first scene in my novel.

As the WIP developed, that scene stayed, draft after draft. I tweaked it as the story changed. Trimmed this. Added that. Traded this word for that one. But essentially, the scene remained the same.

For the last month, I’ve been working on Draft 6 of my WIP, what I hope will be the last draft before I start querying literary agents. As I’ve worked on these revisions, I’ve realized that that darling, that scene, that whole first chapter, was slowing down my story. It had to go.

I love that scene and that chapter—they’re my darlings!—so I resisted. I tried to find ways to change them to make them work. I tried and tried and tried, as relentless as Wile E. Coyote hunting Roadrunner and with about the same success rate.

Tonight I realized there was just no way that chapter would work—except maybe as an extra here on this blog when I finally get the book published. So I took out my scissors and snipped off the whole thing. My darling, killed. The whole first chapter, GONE.

I’m a sad little murderer tonight, mourning my dead darling, but my story is feeling much better. And that’s what really matters.

A Wink and a Smile E-book is Available!

Publication day is here! The A Wink and a Smile anthology, which contains one of my short stories, is available in e-book format. (For those of you who, like me, prefer printed books, a paperback version will be available in a few weeks.)

Here's the blurb:

IN THIS READ ON THE Run title, we present eighteen romances. Not love stories, although some of them do include aspects of that. But whereas love stories are often sad, each of the selections in A Wink and a Smile has either a “happily-ever-after” ending, or at least a strong suggestion that this is where the characters are heading.
That doesn’t mean these tales all sound the same; to the contrary, we’ve found quite a diverse collection of romances. Yes, there are some traditional romances, and there’s a healthy handful of budding romances, but you will also find a story set in the future, and a couple of fantasy tales. You will find stories of pastries, and candies, of young lovers and old. You will meet several matchmakers and you’ll see couples reconcile, and there are even a few stories that will make you laugh.
As always, each story in the Read on the Run series of anthologies is short, to suit your busy lifestyle.

Click the button below the cover image to buy your copy!

Cover Reveal!

The anthology that will contain my short story "The Wheels on the Bus" doesn't yet have an official publication date, but it must be coming up soon. Smoking Pen Press, the publisher, has shared the cover art:


Coming to a Bookshelf Near You . . .

I signed the contract today, so I guess it's official: I sold a short story!

My story "Wheels on the Bus" was accepted for inclusion in Smoking Pen Press's anthology A Wink and a Smile, part of SPP's Reading on the Run series. The story is a revised, slightly longer version of my 2017 NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge entry.

I don't have a publication date or purchase information for the anthology yet, but you can bet I'll post when I do.

UPDATE (2/3/18): You can read more about the anthology here:  http://smokingpenpress.com/fyi