Saturday, May 9, 2009

Editing Writing and in Sculpture - Murder Your Darlings.

"Murder your darlings" has been in my head all morning as I carve away that perfect sunflower held by the little queen. It was a good idea in the wrong place. It might resurface elsewhere in the sculpture, but not on the little girl.

Went searching for the origin of the phrase and found a great explanation and attributions on MindTweeks.  Author Tori Deaux says the most likely candidate was Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, who, in 1914 or so, quipped:

“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it — whole-heartedly —  and delete it before sending your manuscript to press.  Murder your darlings.”

Read the entire essay HERE .

Surrounded now by wood chips, I feel like a Blackforest Medea. One bad idea dispatched. Now to see if I can save the carving......... 


MackTheKnife said...

Being both a writer and a carver, I feel your pain. Recently had to save a lovespoon from an early "good idea". Luckily it was only kolrosing, and I didn't have to go too deep to get rid of it. I don't expect you'll have too much trouble saving your carving.

Patrick Gracewood said...

You're right, MacTheKnife, there's plenty of wood left. It's more the "What was I thinking???" that's upsetting.
I find that the idea for the carving has to be very clear to bring it into being...which is why i do lots of preliminary drawings to explore pose, and emotional nuance. This made it under that radar.....