Monday, June 23, 2014

Killer Monday: When To Kill Your Darling and Move On

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Monday, June 23, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (sleeping in on vacation, sunshine while writing, kids who sleep on trampolines in the summer)
  • __2__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (had me some Dirty Diet Coke)
  • __4 hrs  Spent Writing (I'm finally making progress)
  • _0__  Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (I helped clean up though ;/)

So I've been thinking a lot about the act of moving on lately. It's hard to do. And don't try to divine into my personal life about any kind of trouble in Humphries Paradise--that's not it at all. I'm talking strictly about our creative endeavors. 

A lot of people ask me how I became a published author, and I think they're looking for a Cinderella story. Where the average girl got picked up by their Prince Charming-Agent-Editor through a series of magical moments. And I guess, in a sense I could sell them that story. However, I've found people become a bit dismayed when I talk about all the hard work and many books (throughout several years) that I wrote in order to have get published. 

Now what I'm about to say is a little controversial, and it's not meant to hurt anyone's feelings or step on anyone's toes, but here's the thing: 

If you've been working on your first book for longer than two years, you've revised, rewrote, handed it over to critique partner's and beta readers, queried it widely, revised, rewrote and queried it some more...then MOVE ON! 

Don't keep revising and rewriting the same story for 5+ years. I know the peanut gallery can give me example after example of great works of literature that took ten years to write, and look how successful those authors became! Well, whatever. If you're writing a "great literary work" than please, by all means, take your time. However, if you're writing a young adult contemporary romance or a middle grade fantasy...I'm not sure literary masterpiece is what you're going for anyway. WALK AWAY! There is nothing more freeing than starting a new work with all the tools you learned from your first try. And there's nothing more creatively and emotionally stunting than slaving over the same story for years and years. 

I see it all too often. Writers who can't let go. Just make like Elsa and freaking Let. It. Go!

It might feel like a stab in the heart to kill that darling manuscript, but just trust me and the other thousands of industry professionals who have said the same thing. MOVE ON. Cuz' guess what? You can come back to the general idea of the story later and get THAT published. 



  1. This is VERY good advice. There is definitely a point where you need to move on and let new stories come out! Glad you shared. :)

  2. I worked on my first book for 6 years. I wish I'd moved on more quickly, and this is why. It's a pretty good book. But when it was done, I'd been a writer for six years with hardly anything to show for it. Now I've been a writer for 7 years, and I realize getting published is only the first step to becoming an author who actually makes money! So this is great advice, even if you adore your book. You can always come back to it later, if it still calls to you!

  3. I think it depends on how much writing time and whether you see improvement that determines when you move on. But agree at some point you have to.

  4. Spot on. My first book is dead because of all the rewrites and years that ultimately never took it anywhere. I moved on, wrote a few more books, and one of them is getting published soon. Take what you learn and move on. :)