Delightful Ideas, My Darlings

First things first: 49,839 words, and the first draft of section two of episode three is done.

Second, this writing session is why I don’t rigidly outline. I have milestones, I have a road map (I also have an actual map), but I have always found that for me, rigid outlines tend to stifle my creativity and the possibility of some new surprise surfacing that I didn’t plan on. Those surprises are why I sometimes feel like I can’t really take credit for my own writing. I don’t know where they come from.

It was the germination of a seed that has been wandering around on the edge of my mind for a while now, but in this scene it came together and gave me both the raison d’être for this scene and a wonderful thread to unroll over possibly the rest of this book, at least. It will be delightful for me to write because it just tickles me; the idea makes me smile, for reasons I’d have trouble explaining. And unfortunately I can’t tell you what the idea is because it would be a spoiler.

It’s also one of those things where it’s absolutely not necessary to the plot, so it takes a bit of judgment on the writer’s part. Just because I think it’s a delightful idea doesn’t mean my readers are going to want to splash around in it with me for pages on end. And that’s the heart of the writer’s maxim to kill your darlings. If my beta readers say, why do you have multiple scenes referencing x when it doesn’t move the plot along, then the delightful idea that I so enjoyed writing, and that makes me smile every time I read it, is going to have to be sacrificed.

For some reason the image that comes to mind is an infant on an altar, and a battleaxe. It makes me very sad.

So to avoid that adorable, cooing little infant getting the axe, the only solution is to make it as adorable as possible and only include it when it’s necessary, so the only time the reader notices the idea is to admire it for its cleverness and adorableness. Which is true of much of writing in general, but when it comes to your darlings, one prefers to make them simultaneously as attractive and unobtrusive as possible.

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