Monday, April 13, 2015

A to Z Challenge: K is for Kill Your Darlings

Welcome to April. With its customary showers comes the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. For those who are unfamiliar with it:
The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day. (Source) 
The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends. For more details and its history, go HERE 

My theme this year is EDITING

I'll be posting practical advice for editing any story, novel, or other piece of writing. Editing is something most authors struggle with, and after years of doing my own as well as that of others, I have a pretty good eye for what needs work. I'll be doing short posts on editing topics and (hopefully) dispensing simple, valuable advice to help everyone out there self-edit.

K is for Kill Your Darlings

One of the hardest things for writers to do is to cut out the bits of our story we love the most. The parts we wrote and carefully crafted and agonized over. We don't want to cut them. It can be really painful.

Unfortunately, it's also necessary.

Editing is all about killing your darlings. If it's not relevant to the story, if it detracts from your scene or your chapter, if you're being repetitive, then cut it. 

You want to be a great writer, but to become that, you have to learn to edit. You have to sacrifice everything for story, for character, for clarity.

While you're getting used to the idea of killing said darlings, it might help to keep them in a separate document. Many writers can countenance editing (especially if it's full paragraphs or scenes, as opposed to just extraneous words) if they keep them in another, separate place for later. That way, they can always use them if they find a more relevant place for them. If this helps you, then do this! (Chances are you won't reuse them, but you never know!)

**Don't forget to check out my kickoff for The Botanist blog tour! It includes a great giveaway. Just sayin'. :D**

How do you make yourself feel better when you have to kill your darlings?


  1. In my current work-in-progress I just realized that I really, really need a character that I killed 100 pages ago. That sucks. Not only did I "kill my darling" (He was my favourite character, but I knew he would have to die at some point), now I have to kill most of the last 100 pages to write him back in.

    I really should have had a better plan.

    1. Oh that's a bummer! Yeah it always sucks to write something you then have to scrap and re-write. I get so depressed about that, even if it can't be helped. Good luck!

  2. No worries. Nothing is sacred to me except making sure the protagonist and his girl survive at the end.

    hStephen Tremp
    an A-Z Cohost
    @StephenTremp on Twitter

    1. I hear ya! I'm one who always wants the main two to survive at the end. I'll totally kill off everyone else, but having one of the main love interests die is just too depressing. :D Thanks Stephen! :D

  3. I've cut scenes down in size, although I'm usually trying to add to them. I did cut a scene I really liked from my third book. I might still use it somewhere.

    1. Good for you! Any time I cut an entire scene, I try to keep it and look for other places to use it. :D