"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
- Antoine de Saint Exupery
Someone e-mailed me this quote today, and it's perfect for what I want to post about.
(I'm taking a break from foenetic friday again.)
I've always read that as a writer we shouldn't be afraid to "kill our darlings." And I totally agreed with that. My philosophy is that a great book is XX,000 perfect words, in the perfect order, with nothing added and nothing left out. So when people asked if I would be willing to "kill my darlings," I said, "sure, if they aren't part of the XX,000 perfect words, they've got to go.
I never had any real darlings, but what I did find was a scene that had become a "fixture." You know, that ugly light fixture that you've just gotten used too. The one you don't even notice anymore, until the realator asks, "Are you going to replace that before we list the house?"
I finished reading the great book "Save the Cat," and after reading it, went through one of my older manuscripts. I found a glaring "fixture," a scene that wasn't terrible, but it was just sitting there taking up space. It was one of the few scenes that hadn't changed much from the earliest version. It just stuck around, doing less and less as the rest of the manuscript changed. Even after multiple revisions, it was the scene that I always just skimmed, not really looking too closely at it. After reading "Save the Cat" it was so clear that the scene was unneccesary. I had no trouble relegating it to the delete file. I'm just sorry it took me so long to recognize it as a "fixture."
So what about you, have you ever found a scene that has become a "fixture?"