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Kill Your Darlings

October 28, 2012

Skeletons. Shriveled pumpkin vines. Grim reaper masks. Halloween has arrived.

Fall is a time for death. As morbid as it might sound, dying represents a powerful part of life’s natural cycle. The reality is that without death, there would be no change, no regrowth, and no fresh beginnings. How is this related to writing, you ask? Kill your darlings! It’s a long-held phrase in the writing world, and one not to take lightly.

All authors write prolific passages, esoteric phrases, lines of wisdom and earnest meanings. But really? Cut them. A reader wants to be led down a path but not told what to think. As valuable as your words may seem to you, they may not be all that valuable for the reader. Once a writer is able to cut their words, the writing gets better. It opens the possibility of new, better ideas. And if you must, cut and paste the perfect passage to a file. You can open it up and see those little darlings anytime your heart desires.

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