How and why you should kill your darlings

You’ve probably heard it before. Kill your darlings. Murder them, as some say. Inflict violence on those that you care most about. Do bad things to the ones you love.

What on earth is going on? Are writers destined to be violent people? Isn’t writing a peaceful solitary process?

Of course, this isn’t a literal statement. We’re talking about your writing here, after all.

In writing, you must kill all your darlings.

William Faulkner

Writers (and fans of writers) have a penchant for drama, as expected. We’d prefer to talk about the writing process in an exciting way, especially when compared to the reality in which we sit in a chair and pore over half-empty pages for hours at a time.

So what’s meant by killing your darlings, and why would you ever do such a thing?

Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

Adding tension to a scene

Have you ever written a scene that you know is full of potential but is somehow lacking excitement? A scene where interesting characters are in an interesting setting, but somehow aren’t interesting enough to carry your attention forward?

Let’s face it–most events in a regular day aren’t worth writing a story about. Sure, we all have interesting conversations from time to time, and we all certainly have moments in our lives that are story-worthy. However, from your reader’s perspective, each scene in a story needs to be compelling. A scene that isn’t compelling is a reason for your reader to stop and find another story by somebody else. Ouch.

How do we make sure a scene has so much conflict and tension that your reader has no choice but to stick around and find out what happens?

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Backing up your writing

Should you back up your writing?


Well, that was a short post, eh?

Oh, wait. We can probably be a bit more helpful than that!

Let’s talk about what a backup looks like, and how and when you should do a backup. (And yes, you definitely should be backing up your writing!)


Smash writer’s block and find the ending

Sometimes writing comes easily. When characters are believable, motivated, and fun, they can seem to act on their own. This remarkable phase of writing leads to astronomical daily word counts as your characters navigate the challenges you’ve set up for them.

When things are going well, writing seems easy.

However, what happens when your characters have had a slew of adventures and found themselves tied up in the mess of consequences? They’ve created a bunch of problems, often in fun and unexpected ways, and now it’s on the author to figure out how to build a world that will let them close everything out in a way that’s satisfying for your readers.

Uh oh.

So how do you get through this writer’s block and find an ending that will satisfy everybody? What do you do when the first 90% of the story came quickly but you’re left with the final–and arguably most important–10%?