Friday, April 12, 2013
K is for Kill your Darlings
We don't want to take any writing advice without a grain of salt, I don't think, and any tip taken to extreme becomes detrimental. We don't necessarily want to slash out every part of our novel that we love simply because we love it and it's our "darling." I don't think that's the point.
The point of this bit of advice, in my mind, is about willingness. Keeping this in mind has helped me in the editing process when I start feeling whishy washy. For example, if there is a scene that I spent a lot of time on but it just does not end up moving plot or character and simply isn't necessary, that needs to be cut. Or if there's a phrase or sentence that I fall in love with but it is in a paragraph that ends up being hard to understand or just sort of out there, then that paragraph needs to be cut. Those are the kinds of things that happen to me in the editing process where I feel like the reminder to "kill your darlings" is a good one.
So I think what I'm saying is that in general its probably not a good idea to either hack at your babies willy-nilly, or keep them all locked in immovable stone cages. I think it needs to be more organic then that. Some darlings will shine and can stay, some darlings will only be mucking up the whole and maybe its not so much killing them but saving them for later. I think the key is just to be willing to do what it takes, because the real darling is your book as a whole.
What do you think? Is it harder or easier for you to kill your darlings?