I love our current theme of deleted scenes. Our guests’ posts are fabulous and they provide good ideas on their personal treatment of editing.
KILL YOUR DARLINGS!
I know writers HAVE to kill their darlings but I don’t always. Darlings aren’t all equal. I love some more than others, and those, I keep in a file titled “Kitchen Scraps”.
Kitchen Scraps comes from my very beginning as a writer, when I didn’t know what I was doing and was in BLISS. My current WIP, The French Way, is about a young female French aristocrat who has to flee Paris or get guillotined. My hero is an English gentleman playing a scarlet pimpernel (I hope you know about the scarlet pimpernel).
But The French Way didn’t start so clean. My first idea was to have a famous French Chef in London – female, how impossible is that – who helps out aristocrats in London who have escaped from the Terror. The story revolved around food, mainly the great food of the French versus the bland food of the British.
My hero was a penny-pinching English lord who won my heroine’s services – as a Chef, don’t get any idea – in a card game. He was involved in the British counter-intelligence and his goal was to find traitors in London who wanted to overthrow the crown and create a revolution like the French. His suspicions were on the heroine.
It was BLISS, I tell you. I didn’t know my story was too convoluted, the romance too sparse, the heroes not defined enough. I learned though, and The French Way is much stronger now than in those blissful years.
Since my “darlings” were related to food, I called my storage file, Kitchen Scraps. Here are a few example:
His eyes opened wide and he approached her. “Why are you dressed like a boy? Is that a sword? Can I see it?”
“Not now. You can stay here if you want,” Sophie offered the boy. “The kitchen maids will be here in a few hours and they will cook breakfast.”
His thin chest puffed out in protest. “I’m going with you. You might need my protection.”
His thin face reminded her of the many orphans she had fed at the back of the Inn in Paris. Billy was like those children, tossed into poverty, struggling to survive, one day at a time.
“Sir Billy, you honor me,” she said, wising to spare his feelings. “But the kitchen maids when they come will need a man to carry in the milk. Can you stay, please?”
He thought for a moment and nodded his head. “Aye, I’ll help the maids.”
“Thank you. I would also appreciate if you didn’t tell them about my disguise. It will be our secret.”
“Miss Sophie, I want to convey my felicitations for the White Dinner soirée,” Nicholas said over the wails of Sanders. He retrieved his handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the blood from his sword.
He watched Sophie pull her knife from the wall. “Thank you, my lord,” she said in that accent of hers that stoke the embers of his passion for the French Chef.
If he hadn’t ducked his head, she would have beheaded him. What a deadly aim. “My guest were impressed with your menu. Lady Summerfield had never had crème chantilly before.”
Not the best writing in the world but they always draw a smile when I reread them. What about you? Please share a few darlings you didn’t kill.