Attempted Murder

or ‘Killing your darlings: Part 2

This is a sequel to my January post, in which I explained that killing your darlings is not related simply to characters, but also to words, sentences, pages or whole chapters.

In our editing process, writers must recognise when something isn’t earning its place in the story. During an extensive edit, I removed characters, passages, and entire chapters from Crusader. When I thought I had the job done, I sent my manuscript out to six beta readers, and waited patiently for verdicts.

A few days later the beta responses started to come through. After a few deep breaths and a strong black coffee, I read them and made notes where applicable. I was delighted to see that except for one person, the story was enjoyed. From the others, I highlighted a few minor issues. Other points suggested to me that I hadn’t been sufficiently brutal in the pre-beta edit.

Only when I had all of my feedback, I armed myself with coffee, a large portion of humble pie, a fresh red pen, a highlighter, and a determination that the story would be treated to a line by line pounding. It’s not a brave author, but a lazy one who shies from personal misjudgement. Being honest with yourself is much harder than the same thing with someone else.

It took eight days of rewriting, and the removal of nine thousand words to produce what I now believe to be a much improved story. Every detail highlighted by my beta readers has been addressed, and apart from areas of revision, and removing more passages to the sequel, I’ve completely revised the first chapter. The story will now ‘rest’ for about two weeks before I read it on my Kindle. If it passes muster, I’ll publish by the end of March 2023.

If you’d like an insight, the revised Chapter 1 is now in my Work in Progress.

Crusader – Chapter 1: Judgements

As authors, we should never be so full of confidence that we produce something less than our best for our readers. Remember, don’t simply injure your ‘darlings’, kill them.

Thank you for dropping by. Comments are welcome as always.


9 thoughts on “Attempted Murder

    1. Thank you, Barbara. If you liked the beta read, you’ll love the finished article.:) I’m looking forward to the new Annie.


  1. Julia Lund

    There’s no stopping you, Tom. When it comes to a thirst for the best possible storytelling, you must be parched! You never cease to amaze me with your commitment to honing your writing. And to supporting other writers. X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Julia. Recently, I was irritated trying to read a story which within the first two chapters screamed out that it wasn’t ready for publication, but it had two or three rave reviews. I abandoned it but was pleased that I’d taken it using Kindle Unlimited. I don’t think we can take pride in our work unless we throw every effort at it.:)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lesley Hayes

    I’m 100% with you when it comes to ruthless editing, Tom. I’m going through a similar process with my new one, which is ready to publish (but I’m still letting it sit and settle for a while.) The best things are worth waiting for. And I’m looking forward to the final version of Crusader. I’m betting it will be a success along with the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lesley. I’m satisfied with the effort I’ve applied over the past week. Perhaps during my final read towards the end of the month, I’ll feel that I’ve hit the spot. Whatever my opinion and how I make final amendments, the first readers’ reviews will be the verdict that counts. There are those who like a ‘gritty’ story, but complain about vulgarity or violence, but IMHO, a short walk in any high street is a refresher to the real world.:) I’m looking forward to your next, so when it needs another set of eyes on it, I’ll be here.:)


      1. Lesley Hayes

        I know what you mean about ‘walk down any high street’’… I must confess that during the summer here in Oxford when hordes of tourists wander 5 or 6 abreast along streets designed for 2 at the most, it’s just as well I’m not carrying one of those people blaster machine guns … I’d have swept away the lot of them. We’ve all got a bit of a villain in us given the right circumstances and the tools for the job.


  3. Leaving honest feedback is a must, however brutal it may seem, but it isn’t easy to do or to receive. Constructive criticism is always useful. Good luck with it.


  4. I know what Lesley means! St Davids becomes a ‘pedestrian area’ in the summer. Tourists wander all over the road and don’t seem to care that it’s the A487. I have almost knocked down a man with a small child, who stepped out in front of the car without looking, and a man standing on a blind bend in the middle of the main road on his phone. It’s all grist for the author though.


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