Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Remember, Remember the Babes in the Wood

I was busy murdering babies
As you do
The cherub grins
The sapphire-eyed,
Dark skinned,
Beauties --
All dead.

It's enough to make a writer cry.
It's enough
To make
You throw away the pen
Tear apart the keyboard,
By stinking key

my babies,
I loved your family
just enough
To see you die

Your silent tears
Echoing through
To your brothers
And sisters,
As they hang their heads
Onto the bloodied page
And weep.

There's a common author expression. "Murder your darlings" or sometimes "kill your darlings" And no, it's not about the characters. It's about our words. As authors we love our words, but sometimes they just don't fit the longer piece we were planning to put them into—and what that means for writers is that just because you've written a nice piece of prose it doesn't mean it should stay in your writing. If it doesn't fit, no matter how pretty, it should be cut. 

And that's tough. But in the end your writing will be better. But more than that, the emotional impact will be all the stronger for having written and then cut that delightful bit of prose.

Happy writing authors, and happy reading readers,

 A.J. Ponder - author page


  1. Oh, so dark and sinister! The first line grasps you with both hands, Alicia.

  2. I like it - and can sympathise! Actually, it's the second line - the "As you do" - that really grabbed me, coming as a contrast to the first line.

  3. Cheers, Elizabeth and Tim. I thought this was something other writers could sympathise with :)

  4. I really love this poem - startling, challenging and utterly thought-provoking. Thanks for posting it.

  5. Thanks Lillyanne, hopefully it will comfort you after a dose of particularly ruthless editing :)