If you’ve been a writer for more than ten minutes, you know that William Faulkner supposedly said, “Kill your darlings.” Sounds messy, doesn’t it? Miss Crankypants has noticed a trend here on the blog–a lot of the posts seem to promote violence, mostly inflicted upon other award-winning or clever writers. To that end, she is calling for the immediate suspension of hostilities toward these darlings.
Before you get excited, let me remind you that darlings are almost always stage hogs. They emote when you need them to understate, and they get all purple and flowery just when you envision your writing as succinct as Hemingway’s.
But do we really need to kill them?
Miss CP has the perfect solution: Just bury these offenders alive. Sure, they’ll rise up out of their graves and stagger across your keyboard, but with any luck at all, they’ll march right into your best writer friend’s computer instead of yours.
Most writers have been creating Zombie Darlings for years. Miss CP dares you to look her in the eye and admit it: you’ve got folders and folders filled with nothing but these prosaic outtakes. Faulkner may have advised that we murder our darlings, but all along we haven’t had the stomach to actually kill anything.
There must be thousands of Zombie Darlings out there, meeting up once a year to dance the routine from Thriller.
Zombie Darlings know they’re rejects but they live on, infecting every new writer who puts fingers to keys. Then the Voodoo Editor has to come and exorcise them. ZDs just vacate the premises and go find some other unsuspecting writer to harrass. So next time you’re wondering what to do with a piece of purple prose, don’t get out the hatchet. Just bury your darlings deep in a file labeled “Misc” and when you hear the theme to Thriller, look up: your very own Zombie Darlings are probably out there dancing the night away.