It seems like only yesterday I was ranting against experts who advise writers to “Kill Your Darlings” but actually it was about 2 weeks ago we shared Ken Miyamoto’s blog post on misunderstood writing advice. Now I’m happy to pass on an article from Lit Hub that shares the exact advice I gave in that earlier post: Keep the darlings and kill the parts that are flat and uninspired.
Laura van den Berg shares this advice from poet Elisa Gabbert: “Keep your best line (or image or idea) and trash the rest . . . I guess the idea is that if you love something you can’t be objective about it. But I often find that I’m trying to make a poem work just so I can save the part I like best, and nothing but that part is really successful. Is a poem with no good parts better than a poem with only one good part that isn’t earned? No! Kill the crap I say and save your darling.”
All the yes! Kill the crap! Keep the beautiful turn of phrase, the sensuous detail, the lyricism and poetry in your story. Excise the parts that don’t sing. I like a good potboiler as much as the next person, but I’d bet the writers who tell you to kill your darlings have never written a darling in their career.
Laura van den Berg also shares her journey to accepting her own darlings.
Read the full post here
Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash