I’m playing fast and loose with the English language today, redefining inkling as: a little inking, or a bit of writing, a literary snippet, if you will. This post is in response to today’s Daily Prompt: Inkling.

Rust Belt Girl followers know where I am in my journey toward traditional book publishing. Rather than call myself stalled in editing, I’d like to say I’m at a rest stop along the journey–one of those rest stops with a fabulous overlook. Only, I’m not looking out onto rolling farmland or a lake vista. I’m looking over my WIP (a historical novel manuscript) and trying to do more than edit. I’m trying to genuinely revise–or re-see–my story.

This requires brutality.

This requires killing my inklings, my snippets of lovely language that don’t move the story forward, that don’t evolve the characters, that maybe draw too much attention to themselves.

Today’s dead inkling:

Pregnancy had meant an intense inversion, feeling sensations from the inside—hosting, feeding, growing this glorious parasite.

In the days of printing out drafts–huge reams of paper–I would actually snip this snippet and put it in a jar I have for such things. Then, if I felt blocked or needed a prompt for a new story, I would select one and start from there. Today, my dead inklings wind up getting lost in my Mac world.

William Faulkner is credited for “kill your darlings,” and there’s been discussion about that phrase and other great writing advice here at WP this week.

But, now I’m getting down to it: slashing and burning.

What’s your favorite dead inkling?


9 thoughts on “Kill your inklings

  1. Great post and I love your Inkling. The idea of putting discarded parts of your WIP in a jar and randomly drawing one out when blocked is such a great idea. Storing such things in computer file like we do today isn’t as magical, but it’s still a great concept and a way to ensure that discarded words might get a second life. Thanks for this post, and thanks for linking back to my blog. It’s much appreciated.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. If you cut if from your work and it doesn’t make a difference NOT being there, then it is not necessary and is just bumf or padding to make a word count. I’ve kept pages and pages of ‘brilliant’ sentences over the years – never used but kept ‘just in case’.
    Maybe it’s worth saving for a later work – J K Rowling did with Harry Potter (a scene cut from book one later reworked for book 5, I think).

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  3. Keeping the cuts for future inspiration… what a great idea. I would have never come up with that. But yes, sometimes we think we are so smart and funny with what we write, but re-read it at a later time and wonder: “what was I thinking when I wrote this?”.

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