Ten Second Writing Tip – Don’t Kill Your Darlings, Just Set Them Aside and Make New Ones

by Gayle Towell

killdarlingsMany writer types are familiar with the William Faulkner quote “In writing, you must kill your darlings.” The idea being that, even though you’ve got a sentence in your story that is so goddamn brilliant you don’t think you can bear to part with it, sometimes it has to go for the betterment of the piece as a whole.

Often people’s reluctance to kill their darlings stifles their ability to properly edit. I mean, the line WAS brilliant, right? It’s hard to part with things that make you feel smart.

Here’s the simple solution: You can SAVE those darlings—all of them. Just create a new file anytime you feel that pang of reluctance that comes with having to delete your genius. This frees you up to do the editing that needs to be done with reckless abandon, safe in the knowledge that your darlings are still alive under the label Title_Here_draft2.7.

As a mother of three I can tell you that every time I had a new baby, I did not find it necessary to kill the previous one. I just gave the next one a different name and put it in a different room. Problem solved!


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