Sunday, May 28, 2017

How to be a Killer 101

If you've been following along with our theme of "killing your darlings" in the month of May, you've gotten lots of great advice. And one unrelated but super catchy Disney song, which, I mean, is a bright light amidst such a dark and twisted topic as killing. But back to the killing now.

Welcome to your new class. How to be a Killer 101. I've brought you four (well, technically five) fictional killers to give you quick killer tips based on their expertise.

[DISCLAIMER: I do not own these characters. All dialogue is purely fanfiction.]

Dexter Morgan, from Dexter

Dexter: Keep your killing neat. Cleanup after yourself. Trim the parts no one will miss so no one will come looking. Leave the world a better place and no one will be motivated to look into a disappearance too much. Especially if you play the part of pleasant little writer so they don't suspect you.

Lesson: Don't hack away at your book like a madman. Step back and look at what won't be missed. What doesn't contribute to your story? Get rid of it, tidy up, and move on to the next.

Norman Bates, from Bates Motel

Norman in his mother's dress: My son doesn't know what's good for him. That's why I look out for him. He's my baby. A little naive. But I know best. I'm a very capable woman, wouldn't you agree? And he spends time with such terrible influences...

Lesson: If you can't see what darlings you need to kill in your story, get a different perspective. Sometimes that means asking critique partners, and sometimes that means blacking out, putting on your mother's dress, and looking at things through her point of view.

Sylar from Heroes

Sylar: Which is better? To have a few people with powers who don't appreciate the intricacy...the importance of their gifts? Or to have one worthy person wield all that power and not waste it?

Lesson: It's better to have one super badass character with depth and layers than to have multiple characters taking up space. You might need to kill a couple darlings to condense them into one character.

Huck and Quinn from Scandal

Quinn: Okay, writers, you ready to kill? You better be because this is messy business. You think I'm kidding? Look me in the eyes and and tell me if I'm kidding. I_will_kill if I have to. I'm ready. Are you?

Huck: I think they get it.

Quinn: Oh they get it? They don't get it. They're not twisted enough. Not desperate enough. But I am. I need the answers, and I'll do whatever it takes to get them.

Huck: [dark, twisty gleam in his eyes] Like killing.

Quinn: Like killing.

Lesson: For some people, killing your darlings can be fun, but don't get all dark and twisty for no reason. If you have to, you have to. If your story isn't working, kill what needs to be killed. Get to the bottom of the problem at all costs. Your book depends on it.


Jessie Mullins is a mommy blogger who writes YA and shares bookish things on Facebook. She's married to her highschool sweetheart and has an adorable toddler son.

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.