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.


Czech Mate – now available

Occasionally, when an author finds inspiration for a new story, a few notes are made, ideas become words and they quickly build into sentences. A fictional world is created, characters are born, and then problems are introduced by the author.

In the case of Czech Mate, the problems were in the real world. I visited Prague in September 2017 and within hours I had an idea and was making notes. I arrived back in the UK after my holiday and the new story was allotted time among other projects. It was about four months later when I shelved the unfinished manuscript, written in the first-person point of view.

My ‘Czech Mate’ idea didn’t have sufficient intrigue and would need time to develop in my head. Fortunately, I maintain two or more Work in Progress (WIP), so I was content to move on to something else. Although this book wasn’t getting much attention I was producing other stories so my output wasn’t an issue.

In November 2018, Czech Mate was put on hold again, having been reworked in third-person point of view. Throughout 2019 I pulled the manuscript out and wrote brief passages to build on my initial idea. It was early in 2020 before I had my Eureka moment. The basic plot remained the same but the detail of the story took on a life of its own with the introduction of two fresh characters.

How many drafts? I hear someone ask.

My response—how good are you with a scientific calculator?

The story is out there now and waiting to entertain you.

Amazon Preview/Buy

BookLinker – Universal

For those of you who subscribe, Czech Mate, like all of my titles, is available to read free on Kindle Unlimited.