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The Graveyard Doc

As any writer can tell you, so much of the fun in writing is bringing ideas to life. Through blood, sweat, tears, and a dash of magic, they create fantastical worlds with only ink and paper that take root in the reader's mind.

But not all of these ideas survive.

No matter how exciting a concept may be from the onset or how strong its grip on our brain is, there are going to be stories that fall flat or have us getting tangled up in all the loose ends we're trying to tie up and tripping over the plot holes we're struggling to fill.

The more drastic route of shelving an entire writing project is thankfully a last resort for the most part.

And sometimes, it's not the entire WIP that is struggling. Rather, it's a string of little things that need correction, often including significant cuts.

Easier said than done. Especially when you're having to get rid of something you dearly love and have defended draft after draft, desperate to make it work.

Giving your murdered darlings a place to rest can make this part of edits a mite bit easier.

Despite its eerie and ominous name, the Graveyard Doc isn't just for horror writers. In fact, it's a valuable tool for writers of any genre.

What Is A Graveyard Doc?

We all have a junk drawer somewhere in our house. Places where we stash our odds and ends, things that don't have a designated home, or things that we don't necessarily know the purpose of but cannot discard because heaven forbid we miraculously find the device that cord charges after it's been thrown out.

Graveyard Docs are similar in concept. It's a place to store the things you've cut from a writing project but don't want to get rid. You know, in case you can use them later on. It's a place to lay your murdered darlings to rest, in the hope of potentially resurrecting them some day.

I've found it's easier to kill my darlings when I know there's a place to put them for safekeeping, whether that's somewhere in the WIP they started in or in a new project altogether.

While I would love nothing more for it to be organized by chapter or divided into sections for narration and dialogue and unused plot points, my Graveyard Doc is a hot mess. I just copy and paste and move on with editing what remains of my WIP.

In the past, I've struggled with making those chops to my WIPs because hitting the delete key would be equivalent to striking them from the earth, never to be seen again. Having the Graveyard Doc has helped with the deliberation that comes with murdering the darlings I so fiercely want to keep. Knowing that I have somewhere to store them, even if it's not in their original form, eases the pain of the toughest cuts.

And, hey, there's always the chance things you send to the Graveyard Doc reappear. I've brought back things from past drafts into new ones.

Because some darlings are not meant to stay dead forever...



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