Writers… are you struggling to do the right thing?

02 October 2022 / By Nigel Cooper

We often struggle with ‘killing our darlings’ during the editing process (ie deleting lines or sections from a manuscript that should no longer be there).

Here’s my top tip for getting past the angst and doing the right thing and removing it (because be honest, you know the problem you have making that section work is because that line or paragraph shouldn’t be there!)

Create an ‘outtakes’ folder. 

Save anything you remove in there in case you want to use it later. You almost never will, but it’ll give you peace of mind that you haven’t deleted the best line ever written by man woman or beast.

Here’s one of my outtakes:

This is an ‘outtake’ from my third novel Life, Slightly.

I still love it as a passage but it slowed down the action and wasn’t necessary.

Still, it’s there if I ever want to do anything with it later.

Hope that helps a little.

About The Author

Nigel Cooper

Nigel’s debut novel Beat The Rain was a semi-finalist for Best Debut Author in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016. His second novel The Pursuit of Ordinary was a finalist in the People’s Book Prize for Fiction 2019. It was also one of the 8-12 titles ‘called in’ for the Man Booker Prize, a first for his publisher. It was also long-listed for The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize. His third novel will be released in September 2022 and is now available for pre-order. Nigel brings his own experience of the trials of getting published, building an author profile and marketing his own novels to AuthorSpark. As well as co-founding AuthorSpark, Nigel co-founded digital marketing agency and employee advocacy platform We Are Togethr alongside Andrew, alongside online content sister company Togethr Lab. Prior to that he was a newspaper subeditor and a writer and editor for Channel 4 Interactive.

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