February 9, 2016 Killing Your Darlings
Haunted Journey represents four years of writing, rewriting and rewriting again. Someone famous once said, "Writing is rewriting." How true! I recently read a post on Facebook, which said, "Being a good writer is 3 % talent, and 97% not being distracted by the internet." That's also true. Distraction is a big issue for writers. One recently wrote that she turns off the internet when writing, so that she isn't tempted to check her e-mails. I completely relate to all of the above. It's a wonder this book was ever completed!
There have been at least five versions of this story; some had extra chapters, which I've removed for various reason. I've learned the meaning of that writers' phrase, "Kill your darlings". When you're very fond of a particular scene, and an editor says it doesn't advance the story, you must either make it advance the story or eliminate it. Another early reader suggested eliminating one of the characters, as she wasn't necessary to the story. I agonized over this and decided not to; instead, I gave her a lesser role and had a more important character do some of the things that character had done.
Have I made the right decisions? Time (and an editor) will tell. In the end, preliminary readers, no matter how impressive their credentials. are only offering their opinions. In fact, they will clearly state that all decisions are ultimately mine, as it's my project. While this is true, I do listen to them, because of their expertise, and they've pointed out many things I didn't understand as a new writer, and those suggestions have only improved my work. So, I thank them.