Writers, Murder Your Darlings…
While the quote is often attributed to Faulkner, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch is the one who said, “Murder your darlings.” This piece of writing advice has been given to new and old writers alike, helping to remind writers that the best writing isn’t always the writing you should share.
Your darlings are the sentences or the ideas you can’t seem to remove from a piece of writing. You love them and you want them to shine, but if you were to be honest with yourself, you’d know you need to toss them aside. Sometimes, you need to ‘murder’ those darlings.
When you’re stuck in your writing, think about the ideas you are most attached to keeping. Take a pen or a highlighting feature in a word processor to strike out those specific lines or paragraphs that you love the most. Read the remaining text and see how the flow and the strength of the piece changes.
If you become too attached to something in your writing, you may lose your focus and you may lose your ability to create a coherent final piece.
Do your writing a favor and think about getting rid of the star of your writing show.
(Though you might murder your darlings today, you can save them in another document file for tomorrow. They don’t have to disappear forever from your life.)