They are waiting for me, all my little darlings.
I have labored over them as if in the pangs of childbirth.
I have nurtured them,
weighed and coddled them,
smiled at them and played with them.
They have grown and multiplied,
and though at times they are recalcitrant,
I have loved them.
How many must go?
Which ones are weak, superfluous, misplaced, unclear, redundant?
You know, Lord.
I approach them now as a gardener, not a butcher.
But it still hurts.
Give me clarity, give me fortitude.
Make me merciless, make me wise.
Supply boldness, provide discretion.
And in your kindness and creativity,
let every syllable that is trimmed, every phrase that is straightened,
be obedience to you,
a credit to me,
and a blessing to the reader,
in Jesus’ name, amen.
They are all my precious children
the words to which my heart gave birth,
but now must do as they are bidden,
perform, and show their place and worth
both singly and in aggregate,
however dear they are to me,
and I, in turn, can’t hesitate
to send them to eternity
if they don’t have a vital role
in the poem or play or tale.
The overriding thing’s the whole
that cannot be allowed to fail.
Like weakling deer, each inept word
must be culled, for a healthy herd.
My prayer-whet ax I’ve sharpened well—
Consigned my words to Heav’n, not Hell.
I give to Him the twigs I cleave
And pray the Gardener’s fruit I’ll leave.
(Bob and Andrew, y’all are amazing! LOVE the prayer and poem!! Needed both today!)
Bob and Andrew ARE amazing! The best I could do is:
(sung to the tune Clementine, of course) 😉
Kill your darlings,
Kill your darlings,
Kill your darlings, author Cee.
They are lost and gone forever,
Until your next WIP.
Pam, I REALLY wish I hadn’t read this while drinking a Coke.
Screen-clean time, Clementine.
Karen, YOU are amazing! Good stuff!
Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D.
Bob, the title of your posting made me laugh. I am writing a trilogy and, in the third book’s outline, I have something happening to one of my favorite characters. As I wrote what was going to befall him, I kept saying “no, not to him,” but, alas and alack, it must happen. Such is life. Or, in this case, fiction.
Well said. My children were birthed during great stress and travail. Every change seems grievous. I am glad others understand.
I believe that Faith and Trust factor into this equation. Faith is believing in things we cannot see…like the wisdom and discernment of writers and agents and publishers who have gone before us. Pathfinders. This is where the “Trust” part comes in, Hebrews 13:17. God can change a writer’s heart to reflect the Trust and Faith needed in bringing about His Glory. His vision.
Kristen Joy Wilks
Amen! … and argh!
Kristen, thank you for your comment. Every time I see your beautiful profile picture of your pup, I smile. At first, I thought perhaps there was a Tiara, or Badminton Birdie, in the background. Anyway, I love the photo. Thank you!
This made me smile. When I first started writing, I submitted a story in compliance to the editor’s 1500 word limit. I labored over each word I sent to its death. The editor liked the story but said she’d only use it if I could edit it down to 1000 words. WHAT! How COULD she? That’s one-third of my child!
But I took the challenge and got out the chopping block once more. But, no matter how hard I chopped, I kept coming up with one extra word. Finally, I gave up and submitted it anyway–all 1000 and 1 words. That story has been picked up in all sorts of magazines and reaped tons of reader comments. Thank you, Alice Gray, of Multnomah, for teaching me that chopping is honing. And for having the grace to accept that one-extra-word!
Thank you Armené, for your sage advice. I so appreciate it.
Lori A Hatcher
I love this so much. Printing and meditating upon it. Lord, hear our prayers.
I’m laughing at your cleverness (every editor needs a laugh break) as I nail this to my office wall. A copy will be mandatory reading for every client. If they won’t accept my sword (dripping red with ink), perhaps they’ll take it as truth from you. Thank you!