Friday, June 14, 2013

WORD OF THE DAY! 6/14/13!

"Murder your darlings"
idiom
1. The popular writer's addage coined by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, in his published series of lectures from Cambridge, On the Art of writing, that summarizes the held-fast advice that authors must be willing to kill their characters, even if they don't want to and they know the audience will have a negative reaction, because the narrative can become stronger through the resulting drama and intrigue.

EX. The first story I wrote for a college workshop was not very good. In fact, to be perfectly honest, I still don't think I've written a story that I would put in the "good" category. A couple of my stories are satisfactory, but, back the to the subject at hand, my first story was not even satisfactory. And yet, I believe I learned something from the experience.

I don't wish to give too much away in case I wind up reworking the flaccid bit of drama and commentary that I called "Little Things", but here is a synopsis. An old man, named David, and his wife go on a trip to Florida. Despite his wife's objections, David insists on going out to golf despite the warnings of violent storms on the way. He ignores all precautions and warning signs, until it was too late. David is with lightning and dies shortly after. I took a whole page to describe all of the moment in a heart-beat. I murdered David.

Not only did I murder him. I murdered him callously. I murdered him to show the readers the error in his ways. I don't regret murdering David. I regret murdering him to prove a point. I don't think you forget the first character that you murder. And that's okay. I regret how I went about it and I regret that David was difficult to like, but I don't regret murdering him. After I murdered David, I knew I could murder other characters I created (and that's sorta like murdering yourself...so spooky, right?).

A lot of people say they've quit Game of Thrones after George Martin murdered some more of his darlings. I know that he had his reasons for doing it and he didn't just do it to prove a point/for shock value. He did it for a variety of reasons that, I believe, will prove to pay off. And that's why I keep watching and that's why I keep reading.

Maybe next season I'll be caught up in reading the books and maybe you should too. I'd trust the guy that helped invent wookiees. Feel free to read some of his own writing tips.

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