Damn William Faulkner!

The esteemed author William Faulkner famously said,

In writing you must kill all your darlings.”

Damn him for being right.

Damn my muse for being right.


Here is the situation.  In my manuscript, I must kill the first chapter.  The reality is, the chapter serves no true purpose.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the chapter.  I love the distain Ella has for her boss, the imagery, the development and introduction of the character.  But it does nothing to advance the story.

There, I said the ugly truth.  The first chapter does nothing to advance the story.  I can take the important elements and work them into other chapters.

Chapter One must go away.

Damn William Faulkner for being right.



  • That’s so hard, but kudos to you for making the choice that’s right for the manuscript! Can you rework chapter 1 into a short story by any chance? (Or just kiss it goodbye and thank it for being a very kind placeholder.)

    • Thanks! I wish I had come to the conclusion earlier, sigh. 🙂 BUT, there are salvageable parts that can be worked into the rest of the story. The short story idea is a good idea, though after I strip out the various parts I might not be left with much. I’ll always cherish the quitting scene. Though that might have just been a therapeutic device on my part!

      • I know how that feels! I had a few things in my last novel that if I had only figured them out earlier, things would have been so much better! It’s so hard to kill your darlings.

        If you’re not left with enough pieces to reuse, perhaps this’ll be motivation to start another novel, or a short story, that involves a quitting scene as wonderful as the one that’s getting chopped. And keep reminding yourself that this loss will make the whole manuscript stronger!

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