Less is More: Knowing which passages to cut

You’ve heard Faulkner say “you must kill all your darlings” and Stephen King say “it’s always easier to kill someone else’s darlings than it is to kill your own”, so how does this help you when it comes time to get out the red pen?

Camilla Gibb, award-winning author of Mouthing the Words and The Beauty of Humanity Movementrecently told the CBC about the harshest thing an editor ever said to her: “‘It’s not the reader’s job to indulge you, Camilla.’ She was specifically referring to a chapter of a manuscript that I had enjoyed writing more than any other chapter. Yowza. Joy killer. And yet, it was probably also the wisest thing an editor ever said.”

When you love a passage or a chapter too much, it shows. It might stick out because it demonstrates a POV that we don’t need, it might introduce new themes that don’t fit in, and however beautifully written the passage is–and the darlings usually are–it needs to be cut.

You’ll know it’s a darling if: Continue reading