In her present exile from good society, and distance from everything that had been wont to interest her, a letter from one belonging to the set where her heart lived, written with affection, and some degree of elegance, was thoroughly acceptable.
Earlier today, I was reading another writer’s blog post about proven rules for writing fiction, which she had compiled from various successful authors. She ended by inviting comments from other writers on the topic. So I added one of my own. Decided it was worth posting on my own blog.
“Here’s another rule I live by: Never throw anything away. I wrote a delightful scene, intending to use it to open my first novel, only to discover in rewrites that it had no business being there. I had to sacrifice it for the greater good, for the sake of the book as a whole. I loved that scene, and it would have been too painful to delete it. Instead, I cut it out and set it aside for 5 years. Just recently, that scene became the basis for a very successful short story. I was thrilled to resurrect it from the archives and give it new life. So, you don’t really have to “kill your darlings,” as the saying goes. You just may have to exile them to some distant land until you can think of a good reason to bring them home again.”
In the quote leading off this post, Fanny Price had been banished from her beloved Mansfield Park to languish in Portsmouth. For the sake of the story it had to be done, but, even so, it must have pained Jane Austen to send poor little Fanny into exile. And, I imagine, it must have pleased her as much as it did me to summon her darling home again.