on Writers Helping Writers:
Good writing involves rewriting. An essential part of rewriting is combing through the first draft and carving out material that isn’t essential. When we edit out nonessentials, we are killing our darlings.
What is a Darling?
Darlings are words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and even whole scenes that we’re often most proud of and attached to. We love them to the point that we almost don’t care if they muddy the storyline. We worked hard and want to keep our darlings right where they are, thank you. We should be able to keep whatever we want, right?
A writer needs to consider the reader. When we disregard the reader’s needs for the sake of our own, we fail. If that sounds harsh, consider a world without readers.