To celebrate Kill Your Darlings’ new website, we’ve asked some of our favourite contributors from past years to reflect on their early writing experiences and share their top tips for emerging writers.
Today, we hear from Sam Twyford-Moore. Sam’s work can be found in KYD #14 (‘Water for the Skull: On River Tubing in Laos‘), KYD #15 (‘Conversation with Laurent Binet‘), and online (‘The Great Leveling of Taste: Ryan Adams, Taylor Swift and 1989‘; ‘Renewing the Streets: Newcastle’s DIY photography revival‘; and ‘The Readings Prize Shortlist Showdown: Sam Twyford-Moore defends Arms Race‘).
My advice is this: don’t kiss your editors.
I learnt this the hard way. It was at the launch of the university creative writing anthology, and I was in a bit of a weird mood – which some people probably mistake for a good mood. Anyway, the student editors and the many, many proud writers, and some school staff, were celebrating the publishing of the anthology, which is annually of a kind of ridiculous quality for undergrad and Masters students; the editing and the writing.
Anyway, the editors wanted to kick on after the formal event, as did I, and we went to a bar across the road from the university. After being witty and charming, I was getting vibes from a couple of the editors. One followed me into a bathroom stall and we made out, pressed against a wall. Then, leaving the bathroom, another kissed me five minutes later, as we sat and debated heatedly on tall barstools. I guess some hearts got broken (yeah right) and they probably talked about it after, or ducked the subject entirely.
The point is that there was an after. There was another launch at the Sydney Writers’ Festival a week later, and there were the long years after where there were careers and we worked in the same profession and would run into each other occasionally (occasionally, but always awkwardly).
Things do tend to get heated in life, whether in love or hate, but sometimes it’s best to keep the work separate from those moments. Writers and editors – like the work and life divide – should be sure to keep some distance.
Having said that, I’m now engaged to an editor (the former editor of this exact magazine, in fact, and look yeah I’ve probably got a type), but that works because she’s never been my editor as a writer. She’s read some of my stuff, but we’ve never made it to second base: track changes. She’s just the editor that I love in life, and that’s why it works.