“Kill your darlings” is literary gospel, a ubiquitous phrase that commands action upon one’s prose. Cut, kill, slash, rewrite. Trim the superfluous flab.

Popularized in novel and screenwriting guides in the ’90s, it’s been ascribed to William Faulkner, Oscar Wilde, Eudora Welty (now there’s a name worthy of a book character), G.K.… ...

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