Darling, Thou Art Killed

I butcher the language.

I killed yet another darling that had been sitting in Writing Folder limbo for months. It was supposed to be a dystopian thriller about a young woman and her decision to fight “them”–the name I gave for the unspeakable antagonists–despite losing her comrades and family left and right. The more I wrote, the more I kept saying to myself “This is so Hunger Games-esque that I can see Katniss Everdeen running in the forest right next to my character. I can see canteens of goodies coming down with the beeping noise, and this isn’t even the same damned story, but it might as well be!”

I was so frustrated, but I kept writing. I decided she was going to be a bald, dark-skinned woman with a thick body. She wasn’t going to be white-washed by Hollywood, if they wanted her. She was going to contend with the nitpicky people who “just can’t see a Black person in that role”, but tend to have more colorful language to express that feeling.

Do you know how much it hurt to kill that precious darling?

I couldn’t depart from the dystopian theme. That was central. I couldn’t depart from my fears that everyone would be like “THIS IS HUNGER GAMES FANFICTION!! DID YOU EVEN READ THE BOOKS?!” I have. I read all three. I read the first one about nine teeny times, and the other two about three times over. I felt inspired to write about my own dystopia, but not strong enough to carry that darling on my shoulders. I killed the darling. It’s hurtful, because I’ve yet to finish a story or short story that I’ve started. I churn out poetry like fresh butter, but stories? Uninspired when I have to write them for school, and ridiculously lost in digital limbo whenever it’s just for myself. Even with all the time in the world, they end up just sitting there. I cannot commit.

All of my composition instructors have said it–“sometimes you have to kill them”. I get it. Kill the darlings. This one wasn’t so easy. This one seemed promising. I can’t go back to it, because it’s tarnished by my reading and absorbing so much about THG. I can’t navigate around that theme to make the fight for justice my own.

How frustrating is THAT?

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