You don’t always have to go so far as to murder your darlings — those turns of phrase or images of which you felt extra proud when they appeared on the page — but go back and look at them with a very beady eye. Almost always it turns out that they’d be better dead. (Not every little twinge of satisfaction is suspect — it’s the ones which amount to a sort of smug glee you must watch out for.)

Diana Athill (1917-2019) British literary editor, novelist, memoirist
In “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction,” The Guardian (20 Feb 2010)

Added on 20-Feb-14 | Last updated 6-Mar-14
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