Is there an opposite to “Kill all your darlings”? Like, “take out that cancerous growth in your darlings and make the scene usable because you need it so quit crying that it didn’t work exactly like you wanted it to”?
…Yeah, I can see why such a lengthy name wouldn’t catch on.
For most part, editing Asylum has been pretty easy: polish up a scene, completely re-write a scene to fit the new direction, or scrap a scene because it’s no longer relevant. In his earliest form, Naj was an OC based in a world by a favorite author of mine. He quickly brought with him concepts from the world of Asylum as we now know it, and at first I thought it would be a case of easy substitution: this word for that word, this group for that group, and so on. When that didn’t work, I tried to borrow from real world concepts. Some I was familiar with, and some…
Let’s just say there are some chapters I’m really not proud of.
So I had some options. I could keep the poorly researched stuff (backed up with appropriate research, of course), or I could rip off the band-aid and really dig deep into what made Naj’s magically little world tick.
I of course chose the latter, thinking it would be easier.
World building is easily my biggest pitfall for darlings. I come up with all this wild stuff, laying awake at night, asking myself stupid questions like “What if a gryphon wanted to wear a t-shirt he’d bought at the mall?” or “What happens to a box of doughnuts when a shapeshifter is in animal form?”. Those tidbits of knowledge become hard fact for me, and I operate looking for ways to work that knowledge in naturally, whether its useful or not.
Enter the current chapter I’m editing.
Serpent dance style lies somewhere between modern ATS bellydancing and classical dances from India. Originally, I had Naj’s family based somewhere in northern India, and he’s since migrated to be more middle eastern. But the dance styles remained, despite my near complete ignorance of the culture I was borrowing from. I did the “easier” grunt work of adapting my world’s growing magio-religious background to fit what I’d already loosely thrown together about mudras, knowing it was a quick-fix and intending to marry it better when I came around again in the next round of edits.
Past me, I really hate you right now.
So now I’m at the crossroads of “Well, there is some relevant stuff in here, buried in the too lengthy and irrelevant magic lesson” and “KILL IT WITH FIRE!”. This chapter is a nightmare, a mishmash of old and new ideas, old and new character interactions and old and new darlings. My children are fighting, and I want to just send them both to their rooms and never let them out. “Killing my darlings” would be so much simpler than the life-saving surgery I’ve been dragging my feet about putting them under.