Why you need to kill your darlings

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There’s a famous saying in the world of writing that you need to be able to “kill your darlings”.

What’s that all about? And what “darlings” should you be killing?

In everything you write, you have to ask yourself, “am I moving forwards, am I taking my reader closer to that point of climax, am I working up to it? Is everything in this story relevant to this process here?” And if it is not, then you have to ask yourself what is it doing there.

This is the bit where you have to cut out the parts that you really like. It’s famously referred to as killing the darlings.

You often have to take out the bit that started the novel or the story for you. It has turned into something else. You now realise what the story is really about and you realise that the earlier bit which led you into the story isn’t necessary for the reader.

It was necessary for you but not necessary for the reader.

What I mean is that it may have been the very incident or event or emotion that started you off writing this story. But ultimately, you may find that your story should start somewhere else. It can be hard to let go of the very thing that helped you give this story life but if you want to be a successful writer, you can’t be precious about this.

And at that point you may have to sacrifice it.That is very hard to do. It’s one of the reasons you need workshop groups, or to have trust in your readers to be ruthless with you.

Be ruthless with yourself!
Always ask yourself: does this serve the story? Is this developing my character? What purpose does this scene have here? Does it make sense? How does these passage help my reader?

If the only reason you’re still keeping it is because you enjoyed writing it, or because you think it’s a beautifully written passage, that’s not enough. It has to be more than that – it has to serve a greater function that just pleasing you – if it should stay.

Beautifully crafted stories are truly inspiring, let us show you how you can start creating your own.


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