Another first Wednesday of the month means another IWSG post. Thanks, as always, to Alex Cavanaugh for hosting the group. Please hop over to Alex's blog list and check out the blogs who participate.
In the old testament book of Exodus of the King James Bible Pharaoh commanded “Every Hebrew boy that is born (you) must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” But there was a young Levite mother who after giving birth to a male child decided to defy the law and hid him for three months. When she could no longer hide him she set him afloat in a waterproof basket where he was rescued by the Pharaoh's daughter, raised in the palace and then later freed his people from slavery. This month brings us halfway through 2013 and provides me with another worry along the revision process... Can I Kill My Babies?
In High School I loved Stephen King even though reading his novels made me sleep with a light on until I got married. As a writer, I've grown to respect his work even more. In traveling through this process of revision I came across this quote from him:
“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
During my first revision I had no trouble slashing, cutting, and drop kicking characters, scenes, and entire story lines out of my novel. Unfortunately during this third revision I am discovering that cutting the story has gotten a lot tougher. Not only is it tougher, I've begun to second guess myself. "Should I have taken that out? Should I add that back in? Is the story to weak? Too confusing? Too fat? To skinny?" Augh! I'm trying to keep in mind what novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard said: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. But after all this time it's all beginning to sound like writing! I guess I need to quit worrying and take the advice of Helen Simpson:“Shut up and get on with it.” But I can't help wondering if that 'child' I've just murdered was the one who could have actually saved me.
What about you? How are your insecurities treating you this month? Are you able to Kill Your Babies or do you hide them with the hopes they will one day set you free?