ON WRITING: Killing Your Cousin Darrell – A How-To Manual

I am currently in the process of making some revisions to the East Texas novel. The changes that were suggested to me are all pretty good, and I think I can handle them, but I’m doing one other major edit that wasn’t asked for:

I’m killing Cousin Darrell.

Okay, so I’m not killing him, really — he’s already dead by the end of the novel.

One of the edits I know is a problem, but I don’t know how to fix it. A couple of them I’m not sure really are problems The other’s are fair enough, but will require some hard work. And then there is an edit that I want to make that she never mentioned — removing “Cousin Darrell” from the novel. Instead, I am causing him to cease-to-be. I am 7-up, the Unmaker.

For background, Cousin Darrell is a relatively minor secondary character that somehow manages to appear in or affect almost every scene in the book. He is so annoying, and such a fifth wheel that I killed him in the novel — and, even in dying, he managed to stomp all over the death scene of a much more important character.

He is so extraneous and such a pain that he is even causing me headaches in the sequel, AND HE’S ALREADY DEAD.

For my own sanity, I have chosen to do the only thing that makes sense to me. But this is not easy — as I said, he is in or mentioned in almost every scene.

Currently I am on page 160 of 450 in removing Cousin Darrell from existence.

Please, if you have any Cousin Darrells in your own book, destroy them now! Don’t wait until after the book is sitting at agents!

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