I’ve forgotten who made this phrase famous for writers, “Kill your darlings” – I think it was a British poet. I’ve just finished another draft of a much labored-over book (yes, yes, the novel that never ends) in which I slaughtered my darlings left and right.
“Your darlings” are descriptions that you, the writer love. Sentences that simply shine with brilliance and wit. Moments when all forward action in your novel or memoir grind to a halt to show what a truly deep and sensitive writer you are. Or moments that may simply confuse the reader because they spring out of nowhere, seem to offer information that isn’t necessary. And oh, is it ever painful to get rid of your darlings. I’m always telling my students to do this, but it’s a whole other matter when I have to do it myself.