Clearly, I don’t mean literally—Trigger here can rest at ease. The sacred cow of which I speak is a piece of my own writing.
It’s a piece that I wrote ages ago, but couldn’t let go of for some reason. I thought it was a short story, but then it evolved into the prologue of a young adult story that’s now over 40,000 words and still growing. I love these few pages of writing, and have held them dear for a long, long time.
However, it occurred to me a while ago that if I was going to revise this manuscript, and revise it to any real effect, anything and everything had to be up for grabs. Which meant that I had to look even at this prologue and see what needed to be done to make it better. In my innermost heart, however, I didn’t think it could be better. Love can blind you, even when it’s love of the words on the page.
So, I went into revising this with serious doubts about it. I had an idea—an experiment that might prove interesting—and decided to just give it a try.
It turns out that slaughtering your own sacred cow is no small or easy task.
It also turns out that it can make a story much stronger, much more readable, much more emotional—and make much more sense.
This was an incredibly useful lesson, on top of being a much better revision than I ever imagined it could be. I guess in some spheres of life, nothing is sacred after all!