Killing My Darlings

Kill Your Darlings. It's a line often quoted by authors who must ruthlessly chop out characters in the name of story. This is an almost poem I wrote on the subject for the StoryBlog in May, 2013.

There was a FOURTH bear. But he got cut from the story.
Image by Arthur Rackham, now in the public domain.

Oh Character, my dear one,
I am sorry.
I have no loyalty to give you,
Even though I created you with all my love,
Even though it is my own blood that throbs in your veins,
my tears that stain your cheek.
I can promise you nothing.
No steadfast role.
No grand adventure.
No happy ending.
Though I build you up to great heights, I will strike you down without a sigh.
I will grant you great power, only to snatch it away on a whim.
Because when I’m told to kill my darlings, without hesitation
I will unsheathe my blade.
Oh please understand, I love you. I really do.
But it is Story that commands me.
And you, dear one, only exist for the telling of it.