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Ruthless F. Scott on "Darling Killing"

When it comes to rewriting, a writer must make hard choices.

Fitzgerald warned us writers about the danger of becoming way too attached to something you’ve written. "Keep an objective eye on the whole piece," he says, "and if something isn’t working get rid of it." 

In a 1933 Saturday Evening Post article titled “One Hundred False Starts,” he writes:
    I am alone in the privacy of my faded blue room with my sick cat, the bare February branches waving at the window, an ironic paper weight that says Business is Good, my New England conscience–developed in Minnesota–and my greatest problem:

    “Shall I run it out? Or shall I turn back?”

    Shall I say:

    “I know I had something to prove, and it may develop farther along in the story?”

    Or:

    “This is just bullheadedness. Better throw it away and start over.”

    The latter is one of the most difficult decisions that an author must make. To make it philosophically, before he has exhausted himself in a hundred-hour effort to resuscitate a corpse or disentangle innumerable wet snarls, is a test of whether or not he is really a professional. There are often occasions when such a decision is doubly difficult. In the last stages of a novel, for instance, where there is no question of junking the whole, but when an entire favorite character has to be hauled out by the heels, screeching, and dragging half a dozen good scenes with him.



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