Oh dear. I think today’s the day I’ve been dreading. I must kill one of my pets.
Don’t call the ASPCA. I’m talking about a few paragraphs of prose here, a beautiful turn of phrase halfway into the fourth chapter of the memoir I’m writing. I love it so much that it must go, but I haven’t been able to bear cutting it.
This is the lithmus test: if in my mind a section is so luscious that it outshines all the rest of the writing on the same page, it might be a darling. Remember your Faulkner, “Kill your darlings.”
Remember your Colette:
Sit down, and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it. – from Casual Chance
Today I will take the bitter pill and unsheath the knife. If you hear a quiet scream coming from Upper Arlington, don’t worry. It just means my writing has improved.