Kill Your Darlings (and other terrifying advice)

Author:
Publish date:

Hi Writers,
Following up on my previous post, the Ira Glass storytelling video, there were some interesting comments on the forum. I mentioned that I really took to what Glass had to say about killing much of your work so that the best can live. And this brought up the anxiety-inducing advice that all writers get early in their careers, "Murder your Darlings" aka "Kill your Darlings."

I've heard this quote attitributed to everyone from Mark Twain to James Patrick Kelly—if anyone knows the correct source/attribution for this idiom, please share.

I still remember the shudder that went up my spine the first time I heard "Murder your Darlings" from an English professor (English professors love this quote).

And I've been pondering the meaning of it ever since. As a writer, of course, it seems cruel and harsh to cut out your loveliest well-turned phrases—your most eloquent lines. But I have to say, as an editor, I have no problem at all at seeing and cutting out other writers darlings.

So how do you feel about murdering your darlings? Do you subscribe to this timeless writing advice?

Keep Writing,
Maria

Tension in Poetry: The Hidden Art of Line-Writing

Tension in Poetry: The Hidden Art of Line-Writing

Writer and editor Matthew Daddona explains how to easily create tension in your poems and how that adds weight to your message.

Natalie Lund: On Grief and Unanswered Questions in YA Fiction

Natalie Lund: On Grief and Unanswered Questions in YA Fiction

YA author Natalie Lund shares how she handles the subject of death for a YA audience in her latest novel The Sky Above Us.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 13

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a Lucky and/or Unlucky poem.

What Is a Plotter in Writing?

What Is a Plotter in Writing?

The world of storytelling can be broken into many categories and sub-categories, but one division is between plotter and pantser. Learn what a plotter means in writing and how they differ from pantsers here.

Waist vs. Waste (Grammar Rules)

Waist vs. Waste (Grammar Rules)

Learn the differences of waist vs. waste on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Bridget Foley: On Writing Psychologically Potent Metaphors

Bridget Foley: On Writing Psychologically Potent Metaphors

Novelist Bridget Foley explains the seed that grew into her latest book Just Get Home and how she stayed hopeful in the face of rejection.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 12

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a six words poem.

What Is a Pantser in Writing?

What Is a Pantser in Writing?

The world of storytelling can be broken into many categories and sub-categories, but one division is between pantser and plotter. Learn what a pantser means in writing and how they differ from plotters here.