First up is: "Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler's heart, kill your darlings" - Stephen King
I'm a slow writer. I tend to write and then edit what I've written. Being a slow writer means there's a lot more room for my inner editor to think about the way in which I want to say something, rather that simply writing down what I want to say. And when I write something particularly prophetic - in a particularly poetic way, (IMHO), of course I become emtionally attached to those words and want to keep them, highlight them in the text, and hold them up as a shining beacon to my talent, regardless of whether it's on message with the rest of the story I'm telling ;)
But what I'm learning is that "killing your darlings" is both necessary and, rest assured, something you can totally survive, if you can bear not to be too precious about your work.
Being overly precious about your work will come across in the text and not in a good way. To be honest, the more you go over and over your work, the less realistically you are able to judge. You become too close to it. You need someone who can look big-picture and drill down into the detail - someone who can spot the holes and the purple prose and save you from yourself, so that what survives is the story.
There really is no room in writing for your ego. It gets in the way of what you're trying to get at...the Truth.
Does killing your favourite line, or a favourite paragraph, hurt? Absolutely. But writing is also about cutting the extraneous - no matter how lyrical, to get to the heart of your story. And when has anyone ever said writing shouldn't ever hurt? A little pain is good for the soul and sure helps you get to the heart of your writing so that you can express your truth clearly.
Stephen King wasn't the first writer to coin the phrase "kill your darlings" but in this context his words really speak to me and give me a lesson worth learning.
What do you think? Any of you have trouble with this when you're writing or when you're revising your work? Or, do you have a different quote from a famous writer that helps you with your writing? Feel free to leave me a comment...