Kill your darlings, win a prize

Virginia Woolf extorted us to kill our darlings. That one perfect image, that gorgeous sentence that we keep from draft to draft because we love them so? Eventually someone convinces us to take them out. Or we gain the inner gumption to delete it, because it doesn’t really fit, we just love it so.

Except that I know you didn’t really delete that line. It was too good. Instead you cut and pasted it into a new document or wrote it down in your secret darling notebook. It’s still in your chapter titled “abandoned paragraphs” in your Scrivener document.

But now you can display them! It’s time to have a contest. Send me your darlings, it can be a sentence or a paragraph. Paste it in the comments or send it to me at independentclause at the gmail. The best darling (judged by our very favorite Cougar Clause) will receive a prize of my choice.

Listen, Cougar’s having a really shit time at work. And she’s like our mother, and rarely complains. So when she complains it’s bad. So cheer her up. Send her some darlings to read. She loves to judge contests, see here, here, and here.

May the best darling win.

Bisous,

Indy Clause

PS Should there be people who do not primarily identify as writers, I’m sure you have some sort of writing you could send, or possibly a picture of a bowl.

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12 responses to “Kill your darlings, win a prize

  1. Oh! Oh! I’ve got one:

    When Celia was fourteen, Red Sully, of Sully’s Sinks and Drywall, had learned that his wife was cheating on him and had beaten her to death in their home, using the bowling trophy that he, his wife, and her lover had won together the week before at a tournament in Montrose. As children, Celia and Eric were sickened but also consumed by the dark humor of the crime. Eric had acted it out as Celia fell about in guilty laughter: I got your strike, baby! Right HERE!

    I keep cutting it then adding it back. I mean, come ON, that’s a good line.

  2. Thanks for giving me a contest to judge. What a fabulous strategy! But, I’ve got to thank you for those hyperlinks back to old contests. just reading those awful poems/sentences over again made my day!

  3. This might be cheating, because it’s technically three lines of dialogue instead of a paragraph? But it’s from two chapters I cut out of my last MS, and it hurt SO MUCH:

    She glanced at him. “Weapons?”

    “Riot baton, Glock, good looks, and charm.”

    She held out a key. “Leave the first two in the glove box.”

  4. UNRELATED POST: i have just bought a lovely little Penguin edition of Orwell’s “Why I write.” I read seven pages on the bus coming back from a shit meeting in a windowless conference room. I thought you (all), [or y’all, if I must betray my past] would like what I found between pages 3 and 4:

    “I wanted to write enormous naturalistic novels with unhappy endings, full of detailed descriptions and arresting similies, and also full of purple passages in which words were used partly for the sake of their sound.”

    Aaaah…

  5. Pingback: Radical Rewrite, Day 4 | Fangs and Clause

  6. Pingback: Darlings, killed. | Fangs and Clause

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