“Kill your darlings.”
William Faulkner paraphrasing Arthur Quiller-Couch’s ON THE ART OF WRITING, 1914
It’s a jaunty saying that has resonance, so it stuck. In writerly lingo this means that, upon revising, a writer should consider how her favorite lines/paragraphs may be a product of vanity and do not serve the story.
Okay. Sometimes it’s the case.
But good writers are made of very good readers, and very good readers who like a turn of phrase or an aside that’s clever/different/intriguing, are usually right on.
The cliché knee-jerk notion is now the very saying to “kill your darlings.”
Here’ a novel idea— let your darlings be. They are there for a reason. Your judgement is sound, and without trusting in your judgment, you’ve got bupkis. That’s another (now cliché) saying that means your writer’s soul is bankrupt.
Love your darlings, sweetheart, and let them live.