I'm brutal.
I just erased two people from existence in my latest book.
I did it with great aplomb.  Ambivalence even.  Didn't shed a tear.  Didn't care.  
They didn't help my story.  They didn't move it along.  They didn't contribute.  They were in the way.
So I took them out.
I didn't kill them in the story, or anything like that.  I didn't hatch a scheme or build a plot to exterminate them.  I didn't use Ricin, Lilly of the Valley, a wheelchair bomb, or a robot gun mounted in my trunk.
I just went back to chapter three where their genesis was...and rewrote chapter three.  And four.  And five.  Without them.
Where did they go?  
Don't know and don't care.  
Why did I even put them in there in the first place?  I'll be honest -- I put them in there because I thought I needed them.  Pack of friends going on an adventure, stuff like that.  Rowling did it.  Riordan did it.  Heck, Lloyd Alexander did it.  Tolkien did it the best.
So I thought I needed to.  Nah.  Mine didn't breathe yet.  They didn't bring grins like Ron, giggles like Gurgi, or guffaws like Samwise.  They didn't bring anything.  
Part of my mind told me to wait -- things would get better with poor Lawrence and Holly.  They didn't get a chance to develop yet.  They didn't have room to run in Chapters 3-5.  True, Part of My Mind, true.  But if I didn't like them in three chapters, my audience sure wouldn't.  And if my audience doesn't, it becomes a very simple reason to put the book down.  And if the book gets put down, I'm screwed.  If that happens, there's no talking my way out of it.  Hank and Skylar don't believe my ramblings and pick the book back up and give me another chance.  
You have to make tough choices when writing for the benefit of the arc.  For the sake of the story.  "Kill your darlings" indeed.  Get rid of ancillary crud that doesn't move the tale forward.  Make the decision and do it.  Do it quickly, before there's time to waver.
Be brutal.  Like me, I guess.  
Because apparently after this week...
I am the danger.  And I am the one who knocks.

Happy New Year! :)
 
 
"Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak." William Congreve

Nice, William. 

But there’s more.  Music is crazy.  It taps into a unique section of our brain that no one can explain.  No one that I would want to listen to, anyway.  We all know this, I’m not some new unique voice to point this out.

That one song brings you back to the sweaty palms, BigRed-flavored-breath, and small pit of fear in your stomach that your deodorant was not doing its job at the Freshman Winter Formal -- (Terence Trent D’Arby Sign Your Name).

That other song transports you to the first time you had the death of someone close to you, and you still really couldn’t make sense of it – all the while noticing that your heart felt just sick and you were unable to shake it – (Huey Lewis and the News, Perfect World).

Music connects.  Inspires.  Generates.  Shapes.  Cleanses. 

Has spiritual power.  David chased demons with it.

Even now, Israel “IZ” Kamakawio’ole’s version of Over the Rainbow is doing something to me that I can’t explain.  I’m a child in one part in my mind – remembering scenes from Oz, but I’m an adult in another…trying to remember what movie this version is from.  I even have pictures of the television series Lost in my head that I can’t explain.

Thank God for music.  I’m not a musician – far from it.  I can sing, and I can thump out chords on a guitar, and I can air drum with the best of them – but I don’t do theory or understand the weirdly mathematical facets of the art.  But music is so good – especially for writers.  Or I’ll say especially for me, as a writer. 

I never get writer’s block.  I really don’t.  Music takes me out of it every time.  Every time.  It inspires me every time.  It prompts me every time.  It gives me ideas.  It solves plot problems. 

I owe thank you’s to artists for being faithful to THEIR craft so I could be faithful to mine.

Thank you, Wailin’ Jennys for so many parts of Daisy Hill.

Thank you, Lindsey Stirling, for inspiring a feeling in Crimson Partridge.

Thank you, future unknown artist for what you will bring next.

Soothing beasts?  Yes.

Softening rocks?  Yes.

Bending a knotted oak?  Yes.

And more.

 
 

"Gift."  Hope you enjoy, and Merry Christmas :)