Save Your Darlings

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by Judith Couchman Might we in our rush to kill all our darlings risk beheading our only valuable bits of expression or insight?—John Crowley You write like crazy. Brilliant ideas spill from nowhere. Original word combinations flow. Then your editor says, “This passage doesn’t fit. We need to cut it.” The editor deletes paragraphs of your stellar work. You feel like you witnessed a murder. Traditionally, writers call these cherished but unusable passages and pages their “darlings.” Authors around the world, from Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch to Stephen King, have advised writers to kill those darlings: the gorgeous words, sentences, and…

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