Writing Quote, January 27, 2010 — “Just Like Killing a Child”

Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.
— Truman Capote

Is it time to take your novel out back and shoot it? I hope not!

Is it time to take your novel out back and shoot it? I hope not!

www.inkthinkerblog.com — Capote’s comment is blunt, but he’s not the only one to speak of writing in violent terms. William Faulkner advised writers, “Kill your darlings.”

As someone who’s been working on the same book (more or less) since I was 15, I’m speaking from personal experience when I tell you that I think there’s something incredibly appealing about writing a book and less so about having written a book. That’s why so many authors make the writing process soooooooo long and drawn-out: We don’t want to say goodbye.

Do we feel cold and heartless for turning our backs on our books, for leaving our characters alone in the world? Do writers suffer from a bit of empty nest syndrome?

What would happen to you if you finished that manuscript, be it a book or an article? Would you be less of a writer, more of a writer, or exactly the same amount of writer you were while you were still torturing yourself with the endless process of writing it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

– Kristen

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King

5 comments… add one
  • pens parker Feb 27, 2010

    Em i totally disagree

  • Customized Fat Loss Jul 19, 2011

    I’ve been working on a book for a years. And I really want to finish it. i have a new idea for a second book. For me, I want to see my book published. And writing one after another makes me feel like a writer.

  • Bodybuilding Diets Aug 2, 2011

    Well, this is something I don’t agree in. Out of all your other writing quotes, I can’t seem to understand this one. I wouldn’t want to make a comparison to finishing a book and killing a child either. It’s satanic and satirical for me and wouldn’t dream of killing a child ever.

    Sorry to disagree with you Kristen.

  • Definitely that is a big distiction between “writers” and marketers who write books. I can see how an author gets attached to their book and story, but isn’t the point to let others enjoy it? Finish it and get it published so others can “live” your story too.

  • I have this kind of attitude, writing a new story even without finishing the other one. But since i got new good ideas for my latest story, i have no choice but to stop writing the previous story and start the new one.

    – Jack Leak

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