Every writer knows the old saw about ‘killing your darlings’ – deleting favourite phrases, sentences, characters, scenes, etc., from a work as it evolves. I often reassure writers I work with that out-takes from one project can sometimes be used in another project down the road.
I hadn’t yet killed the ‘Hannah as a teen mom’ thread from my current novel-in-progress, when I was approached by someone looking for submissions to consider for a high school anthology of short stories or unpublished novel excerpts. But I must have known that the moment would come. I remember thinking when the excerpt from my novel was accepted, that having the story ‘out there’ in that form would soften the blow, if I did have to cut that thread from the story.
The main character in ‘Baby Love’, recently published in Reality Imagined: Stories of Identity and Change (McGraw-Hill Ryerson), is no longer Hannah. The novel-in-progress in which Hannah is still a character now ends a few years earlier than it used to, and how it ends now means that becoming a teen mom is no longer a likelihood in Hannah`s future. But it is Chelsea`s reality.
Click on the image to read an excerpt from Chelsea’s story:
As I near the completion of a draft of the original story in which Hannah appears – one that’s almost ready to submit to a publisher (she says optimistically) – I doubt that I’ll ever have what it takes to actually write Chelsea’s novel. (But of course I doubt it. I found it hard to contemplate having another baby while I was still in the delivery room, too!)
Whether I ever tell Chelsea`s full story or not, it`s nice to know that at least readers of Reality Imagined will know this “killed darling” of mine to some extent anyway.