Writing Tip: Kill Your Darlings

deadflowersCCPhoto

Writing Tip: Kill Your Darlings

All writers are familiar with the phrase, “Kill your darlings.” As painful as it can be, often this is good advice. Sometimes the scene or section in a book that’s our favorite—our most cherished chapter, where we’ve worked in elaborate hidden symbolism, a reference to our favorite classic novel or film, a great (in our minds) joke, or that lyrical line of French poetry—is the one that doesn’t fit in well with the rest of the plot, or seemed tacked-on. If more than two good readers have suggested cutting out that material, then I’d take that as a hint and get rid of it. Remember that you can always use it in your next novel!

Have a question about writing? Comment or email me at leslie@lesliewellsbooks.com

Leslie Wells has edited forty-nine New York Times bestsellers in her thirty-year publishing career. She is the author of Come Dancing, a novel about publishing and rock and roll, set in New York City in the 1980s. Visit her at www.lesliewellsbooks.com

Dead Flowers Photo: CC0 Commons

 

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