Not Always Killing Your Darlings

So there’s this lengthy scene in my current manuscript (which just came back for edits) involving a goldfish.

It is awesome. I say this in all modesty. It is the Hero’s Journey with a goldfish. I had a lot of fun writing it.

One of the edits is that there’s too much going on at the end and a couple of threads that don’t resolve and it occurred to me that if I just hacked out the bit with the goldfish, it would fix some of these concerns and cut a few thousand words.

Common writing wisdom has it that I should ruthlessly slice this out, throw it to the winds, kill my darlings. Sure, it’s painful! That’s how you know it’s working! PAIN IS EDITS LEAVING THE MANUSCRIPT!

I offered to slice out the goldfish.

My agent, my editor, AND my beta reader all came back and said “NOT THE GOLDFISH!” It was like I had the goldfish in front of the firing squad and everybody threw themselves over the bowl yelling “Take me instead!”

I guess the goldfish stays.

Huh.

So, y’know, the moral is that sometimes, just occasionally, it’s painful because you shouldn’t be messing with it.

  • reply Mean Waffle ,

    I would SO buy a button that said: NOT THE GOLDFISH!

    • reply Pippen ,

      The goldfish should always be spared.

      • reply Al the K ,

        Ask them what they would have thought if it were a piranha.

        • reply Amy ,

          In the end, isn’t it always about the goldfish?

          • reply Hawk ,

            I need a T shirt that says that now.

            No one will understand, and I won’t care.

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