Monday, 27 June 2016

Kill Your Darlings - by Rebecca Bradley - an author guest post

Today it's my stop on the blog tour for Made to be Broken by Rebecca Bradley. I'm delighted to welcome Rebecca to my blog. Made to be Broken was published on 20 June 2016.

Kill Your Darlings
by Rebecca Bradley

Can I first start this post by thanking Vicki for hosting me on her blog. Over the past week or so, I have found out just how wonderful and kind the blogging community really is and Vicki is among those filled with kindness. So, thank you Vicki.

Advice given to new writers is to ‘Kill your darlings’. You can trace this quote back to William Faulkner who said ‘In writing, you must kill all your darlings.’ It was then compounded by Stephen King when he said ‘Kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.’ This advice isn’t about killing off your characters, but about the harsh slice of the editing pen. When going through your manuscript you are told to make sure to kill those darling words, be harsh, get rid of any that don’t earn their keep. If they are there simply because you love the way they sound, but they hold no value, then they have to go.

So, am I going to tell you about my editing process today? How I rid my manuscript of all my beautiful and lyrical prose that I wish I could keep but it has no place in the Major Incident Room of DI Hannah Robbins?


I’m actually going to talk about killing my actual darlings. My characters. But, not really kill them.


A lot of series fiction has a regular set of characters. A team of detectives who deal with the crimes that occur on their watch. They get put through the mill at every opportunity and generally their lives are twisted upside down. When I set out writing, I wanted my series to be a little different. Having worked sixteen years in the police service I know life isn’t like that. It’s rare you work with exactly the same team year after year. The team you are a part of changes in a very fluid manner. People apply and join the team as and when someone else leaves or extra staff are needed. But when it comes to leaving, there are a multitude of reasons for someone moving on. You can have someone leave temporarily on maternity, move for promotion purposes, move for a sideways move in a change in department because of their own career plans, retirement, a forced move because the job requires staff somewhere else and sometimes people just decide to leave the job. Any police department is an evolving unit.

If the reality is so carousel like, I wanted my fiction to mirror this. I don't want my readers to be comfortable with any book they read in the series, I want them always to be wondering if any character safe, is one of their favourites going to be leaving? It's not that I want to torture my readers, it's that I want to insert a reality and also some unexpectedness.

Police procedural novels, as the phrase itself indicates, are usually run as a police murder investigation. Though, it's the case itself that gives the story its punch, as procedure isn't very gripping.

So, I thought if we can, in some way, have a fluidity of movement within the characters and is something else other than the main story, it’ll make it both realistic and, hopefully interesting as readers find out if their favourite character is going to make it through. That's not to say I want to make changes in every single book, because again you can go quite long periods of time with quite a stable team and I’m also not going to keep making changes for the sake of making changes.

But, at the end of the day, the only safe character in the series is Hannah Robbins because it is the DI Hannah Robbins series.

Though, don't test me on that… *Evil cackle

How do you feel about this, the movement of characters? Does it make you uneasy as you like a regular cast of characters, or do you think this could be an interesting look at a working series?

About Rebecca Bradley
Rebecca Bradley is a retired police detective who lives in Nottinghamshire with her family and her two cockapoos Alfie and Lola. They keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis.

Sign up to the newsletter on the blog at to receive the first 5 chapters of Made to be Broken, exclusive content and giveaways. Find Rebecca on Twitter - @RebeccaJBradley

Made to be Broken
By Rebecca Bradley
Published by CrateSpace/Amazon (on 30 June 2016)
ISBN: 978-1533651013

Book description

A rising death toll. A city in panic. 

A young mother is found dead in her home with no obvious cause of death. As DI Hannah Robbins and her team investigate, it soon becomes clear that the woman is the first in a long line of murders by poison. 

With the body count climbing, and the city of Nottingham in social meltdown, the team finds themselves in a deadly race against a serial killer determined to prove a point. 

And Hannah finds herself targeting an individual with whom she has more in common than she could possibly know. 

Visit Amazon to buy Made to be Broken here.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for having me Vicki, I really appreciated this and enjoyed writing the post :) xx