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 (b. 1917) British literary editor, novelist, memoirist
In “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction,” The Guardian (20 Feb 2010)

See Quiller-Couch.
Added on 20-Feb-14 | Last updated 6-Mar-14
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