Reading Nicki Chen’s great post on killing your darlings (click here for it) got me to thinking—always the sign of a great post. What was I thinking about? Being supple as a writer.
bending and moving easily and gracefully; flexible.
This is not a post telling people what to do or how to be. This is just a reflection on how life sometimes makes you into what you never thought you could be.
I’ve worked as a writer for two book packagers (click here if you aren’t sure what a book packager is) over the years (and publishers too). Rule #1: please the client. You write a book. Client says, “Hmmm. It’s okaaaaaay. But I want you to make changes.” You rewrite the book. Client says, “Hmmm. Still just okay. I want you to make changes.” You rewrite your rewrite. Client says, “Hmm. I liked it better the first time.” You pull out the first version of the book, having learned the hard way to always save every version of a project until the thing is published.
Gemma Stone after her last revision—badly in need of chocolate, coffee, and maybe a warm towel to throw over her face. Oh and maybe a hug.
Fickle clients? No, this is you on the treadmill of writing, learning that darlings get killed over and over, while your writer muscles get exercised. Not just darlings. Stuff you were just on a first date with. Gone.
Apple Blossom wonders what to change next in her manuscript since she’s been told to drop 5K words.
This is you, mainlining coffee and M&Ms as you work to meet each deadline, some of them as fierce as tigers, growling at you sooner than you would have liked (like you have a month or two to do the whole thing, despite having to revise two or three times).
Pinkie Pie is on the fourth revision of her novel. She thinks maybe the chicken could write the book better by now.
Supple—when you learn how to write a picture book three different ways because you had to.
Supple—when you get the word from on high to start the whole thing over just because.
Supple—when you’re waiting on feedback that might mean having to go to Plan B.
When have you had to be flexible in your writing? Please tell the full tale in the comments below.
Another post on killing your darlings: https://thewritepractice.com/kill-your-darlings/
Photos by L. Marie. Pinkie Pie is from the My Little Pony Equestria Girls Minis Pinkie Pie Slumber Party Bedroom Set by My Little Pony. Gemma Stone Shoppie and Apple Blossom by Moose Toys.