Free Your Darlings
On plot boards, and stories, and characters that won’t shut up!
So, today, I finally got down to making the plot board for The QuickSilver Chronicles Volume One: The Girl In The Mirror. I’ve been putting it off for a while. At first, I wasn’t sure why, but having actually gotten down to it, I worked out why.
I was scared. All the while that my novel stayed hidden away inside the deepest, darkest places of my brain, I was allowing myself to avoid failure. When the characters were only inside my head, they weren’t really real, (and there was no risk of failure). At least, that’s what I told myself.
The truth is that the characters outgrew my brain a long time ago. They’ve been screaming to get out for a while now, and I have been too scared to let them. I was scared that if I let them out, I would have to let them go, and without this story to focus on, there wasn’t much else to think about, except the grief that I feel.
But as I’ve opened myself up and started to write Joey’s story; allowing myself to plot it out and let the story (and characters) free, I’ve worked out that I haven’t lost them. In fact, I actually feel like they trust me more, and are talking to me more than ever.
It’s a nice feeling. I don’t think anyone who isn’t a writer can really understand it, but please, take my word for it. William Faulkner said that writers should “kill your darlings”, and while this is true, I feel the need to add that in order to write; to truly write the stories of your characters, you must first, set them free.
Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.
One thought on “Free Your Darlings”
I’ve had the opposite experience. I’ve found that if I don’t let the story out and keep it locked up in my head, then I’m less likely to write it because the story is no longer fresh. It’s overripe and rotting.
It’s good that you’re opening up and writing/plotting it out. Give the story a fighting change.