Dead Darlings

You might have heard the phrase “Kill your darlings”. Stephen King said it in his On Writing, but it’s also been attributed to several other authors. Perhaps the first to use it was Arthur Quiller-Couch, who spread it in his widely reprinted 1913-1914 Cambridge lectures On the Art of Writing. In his 1914 lecture On Style, he said, while railing against “extraneous Ornament”:

If you here require a practical rule of me, I will present you with this: “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.”

It’s a phrase I agree with completely. I’ve written many, many pages only to subsequently strip them from my books. Sometimes I put them aside in the belief they might “fit” somewhere else, but of course they never do.
Until now. I have decided to include some of them in this section of my Blog – work that still carries a resonance with me. Each Post will provide a very brief background, and then a scene deleted from a published work or, in some cases, never published at all.
Make of them what you will, these my dead darlings.


The Dead are Different: Opening Chapter

The Dead are Different: Opening Chapter

This extract is old. It’s one of the first things I wrote when I started writing again back in 2010. Yes, it really is that old. And it’s never seen the light of day until now. I like the idea behind this opening a lot, but still can’t make my mind up where to go with it. Specifically, whether this is ...
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The Red Hill: After the baths - deleted scene

The Red Hill: After the baths – deleted scene

This chapter of three scenes from The Red Hill originally lay after Thomas Berrington returned from the baths where he discussed the murders with the Sultan. In this place it didn’t move the plot along fast enough for so early in the book, and so came out. However, it does show more of the relationship between Thomas and Helena, and ...
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Breaker of Bones: Jorge and Esperanza

Breaker of Bones: Jorge and Esperanza

WARNING: This scene contains, as they say on TV, scenes of a sexual nature.
This was meant to be included in Breaker of Bones but in the end didn’t really fit anywhere. I like it because it reveals a little more of Jorge’s nature, and also his feelings about his eunuch state. It also shows some of the attributes he ...
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The Red Hill: The attack on Helena

The Red Hill: The attack on Helena

A killer has murdered women inside the palace of al-Hamra. It is believed the courtesan, Helena, who now lives with Thomas Berrington, may have been the first victim. This brief scene was pulled, later replaced by a conversation between Thomas, Helena and Jorge at his house. Jorge turned from the study of his wine. “We should consider what kind ...
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