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What to Do with Your Darlings, aka Your Writing Leftovers

After Thanksgiving Day, my fridge is always teeming with leftovers, which, in my opinion, is one of the best parts of the season!

Constructing the perfect meal—or bite—from what didn't get eaten in the first place.

Often, that leftover meal or bite is even tastier than the original, don't you think?

It's not that different for writing.

Sometimes you hear these leftovers—those leftover precious phrases, scenes, and chapters you’ve lovingly crafted but that no longer serve your story—referred to as "darlings."

“Kill your darlings” has been a favorite phrase of writers for over a century. In his 1916 book On the Art of Writing, British writer Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch wrote:

“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”

While I prefer to use less violent language to describe...

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