I committed mass murder. Goodbye my darlings.

For those of you who are unaware, I’ve been working on and off for awhile now on a novel of mine (as of yet unnamed) that I sometimes lovingly refer to as “Khet” (after the MC). I started the story some time ago after a particularly interesting thought popped into my head (while watching National Geographic), and since then, I’ve been scrambling to piece it together.  It started off as a pantster attempt to write as much as I could in as little time as I could, and that was fine. It worked. I got the first dozen or so chapters done in a relatively short period of time.

The problem was, that version of the story wasn’t very stable. I didn’t have the foggiest clue as to where the story was going, and so most of it was spent bumbling around in random directions. (It was crap.) So, intent on improving the story, I sat down a few months ago and decided to work on an outline for the chapters. That went fine for awhile, until I realized that there was this niggling little bit in one of the chapters I hadn’t quite fleshed out yet. Everything came to a stand still. It was something seemingly small: I needed a reason for the two brothers in my story to quarrel. Little did I know how important that detail would become.

Several days ago I once again picked up my notebook and a pen and began trying to sort out the past history between the brothers. It was a small thing. I just needed a reason for them to hate each other, and then my story would be complete. An idea sparked: a relatively innocuous fight over a woman (which then became a half-sister, a breach of law, and the battle for a throne)… and it changed the entire basis of what I thought I knew about Khet.  Dozens of characters were erased from history, another dozen sprung up in their place, and an entire species of creatures popped into being. Laws were made, and genetics were mapped out. I ran out of ink in two pens, and went through an entire brand-new spiral notebook, furiously writing for three days to get the new plot outline down on paper (which right now isn’t detailed, but still massive). I spent the better part of the day trying to set royal bloodlines and arrange inbreeding to get the family relations/genetics/and story outcomes I wanted out of 33 people.

I look back now and shake my head at myself. I should have known better. Sometimes, the smallest detail can change everything in a story. I’ve read enough books that I should know that by now. As Hemingway once said, “Murder your darlings!” and I did. I threw out my entire story and all but a handful of characters, and rewrote (my version of) Earth’s History. We’ll see how many survive the next cut when I start arranging the scenes and setting up the intricate events and dialogues. I have a feeling my characters are huddled in a dark corner of my story right now, shivering. MUHAHAHA.

… This has all been a really long explanation for why I missed Free Fiction Friday last week. I actually forgot because I had my nose in a notebook, cackling gleefully as I wiped out 7 children characters. ❤  I hope everyone had a great weekend.

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10 thoughts on “I committed mass murder. Goodbye my darlings.

  1. Wow, sounds really exciting! You go kill those darlings! 😉 I’m a total pantser when I write, and so each revision can be really painful. And I go through a lot of revisions. Maybe I should learn to outline, too…

    Good luck with your story!

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    • haha thank you. i used to be the same.. pantster all the way! but I’ve found that I tend to give up easily when I don’t have some kind of guide for where the story’s going… it’s too easy to forget details and skip over scenes etc. I’m hoping an outline will prevent me from re-writing the whole thing over three times like I usually do . We’ll see if it works!

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      • In Fairness there aren’t that many established characters in that time and place for you to kill off…so it’s not like I have much emotional attachment to anyone you might kill off 😛

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          • Clearly that means you are dead inside…or a vampire…or a vampire that is dead inside! DAMN INTERIOR UNDEAD VAMPIRES! THEY RUINED CHRISTMAS!… wait…what was I saying?
            To be fair that’s not that surprising, I’ve scrapped entire stories, and world segments and families before, and I’m not a particularly cruel author.
            (Also spellcheck apparently thinks that Chirstmas should either be “Christmas” or “Masochist” … YOU GOT PROBLEMS SPELL CHECK!)

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