Don’t Kill Your Darlings — Put Them to Work

Kill Your Darlings  Go read.

It’s hard. Sacrificing the beautiful words, the clever phrases, the heart-breaking scenes. But it has to be done. The novel will be better for it, and only you will know how much it hurt to chop out everything that didn’t serve the story.

There isn’t much you can do about the words and phrases unless you’re the type who keeps a file of discards — just in case. But the scenes? Take them out, give them their own fresh white page, and let them mellow and fade in your memory. Then go back. Maybe you’ll see the core of a short story.

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5 thoughts on “Don’t Kill Your Darlings — Put Them to Work

  1. I’m one of those with a file full of discards! However, I do actually reuse them, usually (but not always) in a different place in the same work. It’s as if I knew the material had to go in, but didn’t quite grasp where or how. Later, it seems more obvious, and after some reworking, the bits find their proper place.

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