Revision Is Premeditated Murder

“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it – wholeheartedly – and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”

Arthur Quiller-Couch, On the Art of Writing, 1916


My short story is in a wonderful tangle at the moment because I began to revise before I completed it. At the time this made all kinds of sense, primarily because the story required some tinkering on point of view. My experiment on expanding the point of view to two characters’ observations, thoughts, impressions and emotions seemed like a good idea at first but as the story progressed, one character’s perspective began to dominate. The draft needed some clarity in this respect. It was an easy fix that would have taken little time to correct. Then, I should have been on my merry way.

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