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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Am I creating darlings that I’ll need to kill?



I enjoyed writing the end of one chapter and the beginning of another yesterday. I’m conveniently at a stage with this project now where it’s a pleasure to turn to it and I know exactly what I’m going to write. But is it all a little self-indulgent?  

Character building

I’ve worked a little more on Käthe and Hans and on Clara’s relationship with Käthe. The little scene I created there contains an important plot point: Käthe announces her pregnancy. We need to know that the baby should be born in August.  She will actually arrive in July, in a thunderstorm and will be christened wrongly. This latter fact may save her life. Her full story is told in The House on Schellberg Street. But do I need this story strand again in Clara’s Story? It remains to be seen.
In the second chapter, I have Clara feeling strange and working vigorously in the garden.  She’ll soon encounter Kurt again, a young boy with severe learning difficulties, who becomes a bit of a spiritual mentor to Clara. It may become important to both the plot and building the character. The drama of the day is that Rudolf Steiner dies. By the time we come to Rexingen, Clara must be firm in her religious beliefs and sunny and optimistic by nature.

Self-indulgence?

Oh, I am so enjoying writing the scene in the garden where Clara feels the soil in her hands and is filled with hope as she see the buds swelling and looks forward to the birth of her grandchild. I’m looking forward to the next bit where Kurt comes with his words of wisdom. But is all of this needed? Might I eventually have to cut it out? I have several scenes similar to this for The House on Schellberg Street. They seemed precious at the time.

Sometimes writers need to write what readers don’t need to read

Sometimes we just have to write to help ourselves along the way. Look how often first chapters get reduced to one paragraph. I probably need to write those scenes described above so that I get to know my characters a little better. I won’t know for sure if they’re needed until I’ve written the whole novel and started the editing.  Even if they are darlings that need killing it won’t really matter. They will still have been useful.       

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