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"Kill your darlings." -- William Faulker

"Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out." -- Samuel Johnson

Writers often fall in love with particular turns of phrases or striking ideas. Enamoured, they focus advancing these single points instead of the supposed objective of the entire work. Like a bowling ball in a fishing net, focusing entirely on clever bits will sink the entire work to the bottom of the sea.

The fundamental mistake is thinking that good writing is about clever sentences or clever ideas. Good non-fiction writing is really about advancing some objective of the reader, or developing the story as a whole in fiction writing. When you find yourself in the midst of developing a work stuck because of one particular text that you cannot stand to delete, delete it. KillYourDarlings! It is much better to be free of these bowling balls so you can focus on the overall objective of the work. You'll write faster and you'll write clearer.

If you're not convinced yet, pay attention when you read other people's work. You will immediately notice when someone has kept a darling, as the entire text around the darling is contorted just to make the darling fit in. It's distracting to read. In fact, it makes the 'clever' author look like a pretentious dolt.


This seems somehow related to DontRepeatYourself? and DontBeBoring?. Writers in discussions tend to repeat their arguments, especially when these are not effective. Simple repetition is always technically bad (waste of space, redundancy needs reworking ...), but also socially because it tends to become boring. Pet ideas (eTerra, sorry Mattis) fall in this category, also pet activities like fighting (FightingIsBoring). A personal online strategy may focus on giving UsefulEntertainingInformation? and building a RelationshipWorknet? (WorkNet). -- HelmutLeitner

Thank you Helmut for initiating discussion to the intro of Sunir. The antithesis to this page title is CareForYourDarlings? [1] , i.e. care for your Mind Children. Expand the ideas, modify them accordingly, let them interact and at last, develop useful goods and services in a WorkNet [2] , where UsefulEntertainingInformation? [3] comes as EduTainment? [4]. -- [fridemar]



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