Kill Your Darlings!


If you write long enough you will experience (hopefully often) the joy of that perfect sentence. That moment when the doors of inspiration open up, thoughts come together and manifest in your consciousness. They flow out from your fingertips like cloud to ground lightening, and burn across your manuscript. Oh, magnificent wonderment! What is it, you ask yourself? Where did that come from? You have no idea but you do know it is beautiful!

When the elation wears off and reality returns, you may be slapped with a thought or two.

One, (here enters self-delusion) what you’ve just written is the most perfect, poetic, graceful, well-constructed sentence you’ve ever written. You are in love with your creation. You think, who wouldn’t be?

Secondly, (here enters reality) and more to the point, it does not fit your work in progress (wip)—that beauty of a novel you’ve been pounding on for months. Doesn’t fit. Not anywhere. Not one word is actually applicable to the manuscript whereupon it landed; worse, it doesn’t fit any wip on your to-do list.

What to do with your beautiful creation, your darling sentence? As you ponder this dilemma, a whispered voice speaks to you with sobering advice:

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” ― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft