Kill your darlings

“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”  ―   William Faulkner

“Murder your darlings. ”  ―   F. Scott Fitzgerald

These two quotes will be well known to anyone who has studied literature or creative writing. For those who don’t know it, don’t worry it doesn’t mean literally commit some gory crime. It just means that when editing your work you must sometimes ‘kill’ i.e. delete your most favourite bits.

It may be your editor tells you to, or just that you realise you have shown too much affection for one aspect of your work which doesn’t sit well within your final piece. It isn’t easy to do, but I’m learning, slowly.

I guess the main thing to remember is that if you can cut them and your work still stands then they were surplus to requirements anyway, and a final thought, you can do what I do if you like…cut and paste them into a separate document just incase you want to breather fresh life into them later.


I’m a storyteller focused on sharing my love of literature, travel, photography and all things arty. My blogging supports my writing and I’m committed to encouraging others to pursue their dreams through travel and the arts.

3 thoughts on “Kill your darlings”

  1. So very true. I definitely suggest saving them in a separate document. Often times bits/characters who were removed from one story, can find their way into something else.

  2. I have never killed a character in order to get a plot moving. Well, actually, I tried once. Know what happened? It turned out to be an alternate timeline and I brought her back. I really need to learn to be more brutal…

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