Showing posts with label Eloise Williams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eloise Williams. Show all posts

Saturday, 26 August 2017

KILLING YOUR DARLINGS by Eloise Williams

Killing your darlings...

                                   …or your entire manuscript?

I recently had an email from a writer who I very much admire telling me that she had thrown aside a book she had been working on for too long and started a new one. My stomach went into spasms of disbelief. There is, in my opinion, nothing this woman could write that wouldn’t be superb. How could she throw away a story? Why would I never get to read it? WHY? WHY???!!!!

And then this horror happened…

I remembered an entire manuscript that I had worked on for over six years and then thrown out as rubbish in a sealed and heavily tied metaphorical bin-bag. Somehow, escapologist that it is, the story released itself from said metaphorical bag and knocked on the door of my brain. 

‘Hiya,’ it whispered. ‘You thought I was dead, didn’t you? Well, guess what? I’m still very much alive and I have a feeling that if you spend just maybe another six days… months… years on me I will be the BEST BOOK THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN. Or at least passable.’ (Cue evil laugh.)


And there it is, ticking away at the back of my mind again. I run through the plethora of wonderful fictional works I’ve read and it is in no way as good as those… but then I’ve also read a few disasters in my time too and it’s not that bad, is it? IS IT??!! 

By the way – it is!The characters had been yoga-d into positions that are in no way credible. The situations have been manipulated to the point of snapping. The plot has holes that could be used to strain pasta if they weren’t so big that the pasta might fall straight through. 

And here I am again, the Adrian Mole of my own work, marking my submission to the BBC as Urgent. Thinking again of writing the fictional equivalent of the Father Ted Eurovision entry ‘My Lovely Horse’. Ready and willing to squander even more of my life on that last dying breath of a hollow and pointless manuscript. 

How do I stop myself from taking this route? There is no map to show me the way out. I have no-one to ask for advice other than my husband who would no doubt tell me that my writing is brilliant whilst plugging in his headphones and painting open eyes on the lenses of his spectacles. 

 Usually I end my blog pieces with some vague stab at wisdom but not this time I’m afraid.


I don’t know what to do. 

I don’t know how to stop myself from wasting another six years working on a story that has flatlined.

I need advice and I need it ever so quickly.

Maybe before I begin to type…?
By Eloise Williams