Thursday, February 16, 2012

Eight Lines I Cut From The Novel

A few months ago T.S. Bazelli recommended I compile and share the darlings I cut from my novel. For decades heartless nimrods have recommended authors "kill your darlings." Blogging gives us a little leeway, though, in sending them off to a farm where there are lots of other quotes and space to run and play all day. Below I present to you nine things I regret axing from my current manuscript.

1. Our narrator, on scenery:
“His cell cast dark around him. He sat on the cot,
trouser cuffs rolled up as though dangling his feet in a pond.
It was a nice day in Zhanjee’s imagination.”

2. Our architect, on a place you can't understand:
“The astral plane is ideal. An ideal plane.
A natal plane is more the idea of a plane. An idea plane.
Very stripped down.”

3. Our hero, on deception:
"What's the point of lying if it doesn't make my life better?"

4. A succubus, on humans:
“My sister fancies you. She’s the youngest and
doesn’t understand yet that what looks
like personality is just flavoring.”

5. Humans on the succubae:
“They’re not whores.
Whores do good work for good money.”

6. Our narrator, again, on opportunity:
“The monsters didn’t pay him attention,
and he appreciated that.
It gave him time to worry without being seen as worrying.”

7. Our hero, again, on nightmarish beasts:
“Were there barking blue chickens in general population,
or is that food?”

8. Unknown, delivering the hardest of the cut lines, because you could argue it's the central theme of the whole book:
“Living up to my lies has made me a better person.”

There are my eight darlings, lying on the chopping block. I don't have the heart to admit the full chapters and subplots that were axed along the way - yet, anyway. Please feel free to share some of your own murdered darlings in the Comments.


  1. I like what you've done here. Making the bits you cut work for you cos, let's face it, they're interesting quotes. I'm now really keen to read the stuff you kept.

    My cut lines are a bit like my ex girlfriends, gone for good. Unlike my ex girlfriends, I wish I'd saved my cut lines somewhere.

  2. I never kept track of my cut lines. I tossed them out so I could never regret them. Does it count if I tossed an entire novel too? LOL Poor beastly darling.

  3. Great idea for a blog post Jon. The last one might make a good strap line for the book as it represents the book's central theme? if so, it would hardly be 'cut'!

    For years I grappled with whether my novella should be a triangle between mother, father & son, or just a father & son story. Two very different dynamics. What kept the mother in was she had many of the best lines. I cut her section down bit by bit from 10,000 eventually to a 1500 word intro. In the end I just took out the best 300 words from that and redistributed them to the father and the mother finally disappeared from the book.

    Marc Nash

  4. I love the hero's lines on deception. Unfortunately true. Thanks.

  5. Well, if we could all vote for which line to keep - I'd have to choose #8.
    As for cut lines, they usually get scribbled out/deleted on the spot. I probably ought to keep those which might be workable in a different story...

  6. Here's the opposite:

    "Scenes" I intended to write but felt I didn't have the knowledge to do so. While actually editing however my concerns are fairly redundant and most of it wouldn't actually add anything to the novel.

  7. Love the quote from the succubus. Very funny!

  8. Oh, what a nice thought, like frames of film on the editor's floor only, posted on a blog.. hm...? lines cut in the final book eh?

    I tried to find some, I know what scenes I cut from the blog draft of book 1. It is strange to look back over that extra sharp dialog, but it feels more like trimming mold off of a piece of cheese. I just don't miss those "smelly gems" It's all about the tasty heart of the story. Tho, I know, it's such a challenge to not be overly critical of one's own writing.. isn't it? or is that just me?

    very fun blog post thanks for sharing :)


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