"Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it–wholeheartedly–and delete it before sending your manuscripts to press. Murder your darlings." – Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch

The first time I read this quote it, it was in Stephen King’s book "On Writing” which I would recommend to all of you out there who hope to write. Back then I never really got what it meant, I just thought that it was about deleting text. But then I took into account the first part about exceptional writing.

If you’ve been doing this for a while, you always have that little piece you’re proud of. Not the whole story, but the section where you really think you’re writing shines through.

Sir Quiller is telling you to cut that, cut it right out of the writing because it will distract from the piece at large and stand out. It’s hard to do, because when you write a lot of the words can gain an emotional attachment. Characters and scenes become dear to you and you can’t cope with letting them go.

But it helps, sometimes things just flow better and are more concise and less self indulgent and after all, its about you—not the writing.


One thought on “Murder Your Darlings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s