S.G. Browne

Murder Your Darlings

So I’m doing my first round of edits on my novel and although the suggestions by my editor are, for the most part, benign, there are a few places where she suggests that I delete phrases or sentences that I am in love with.

Enamored.

Infatuated.

They make me laugh, these lines.  They make me giggle.  They make me wonder how anyone could even think about excising them from my manuscript.  But after taking the lines out and putting them back in and reading them out loud over and over and over with and without the edits, I realize my editor is right.  These lines are not necessarily enhancing my story but distracting from the relevant prose.

As Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch put it:  “Whenver 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.”

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Filed under: The Writing Life — S.G. Browne @ 7:24 pm

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