Creative Infanticide!

The Baby.
The Baby.

I was within two chapters of finishing my latest work: Bonny. The Butterfly Effect.

I was up to about 110k words and aiming for 130k.  But I was straining. It was like pulling teeth and I knew that meant there was something wrong.

Usually when I’ve got the creative buzz on, the words flow easy – I get into the zone and it just flows. Not this time.

I stopped writing and pondered. Then I put it on the back burner and bubbled the thing for a week. Then one morning I woke up with an ugly truth there in my consciousness. I needed to do great slaughter to my babies. Lots of them. Infanticide no less.

I was struggling because the story had taken a wrong path. I was forcing it down plot paths it didn’t want to go. Trying to make it conform to certain ideas I’d had when the thing was in the creative gestation period.

It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done – I threw away two thirds of the text. Killed most of it. I’m in mourning now and cannot go back to the remains of the corpse unit that grieving is done.

But my mind is buzzing with the creative deep bubbling that happens before I begin to write. Bonny will be reborn new and fresh and better.

It was cruel but not so cruel as sending a book into the harsh world scarce half made up.  A poor crippled thing mangled and lame from a painful birth,  a forceps birth into print because he who created it was too weak to say: ‘NO it’s not good enough.’

If you want the respect of the person who should be your greatest critic – yourself – then you must steel yourself and be prepared to do creative infanticide.

3 thoughts on “Creative Infanticide!

  1. Linda Madsen February 1, 2014 / 9:40 am

    I imagine any serious writer has at some stage found themselves facing this painful decision. I ‘killed’ my first novel; it will never be more than a corpse of printed pages in a binder, gathering dust at the back of my wardrobe! It is better to be ruthless yourself than slaughtered by your critics!

  2. Miriam February 2, 2014 / 6:46 am

    I think it takes a lot of courage to scrap, rethink and start again almost from scratch. Self-confidence, too. I’d be much more likely to ‘kill’ it completely.

  3. davidrory February 2, 2014 / 11:03 am

    Thank you Linda and Miriam for the reinforcement.

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