You’ve heard/read this before and will hear/read it again, but did you know that this, the single most important thing you can keep in mind while writing anything, came from a guy who called himself “Q?”
His full name was Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch, editor of, as Wikipedia puts it, “the monumental Oxford Book of English Verse…” among many other things, and if anyone ever knew a thing or two about brevity, Q was the one.
Or, as he put it so famously (and perfectly):
Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it — whole-heartedly — and delete it before sending your manuscript to press: Murder your darlings.
I’ve followed Rule #1 from Day #1 of my career, and the only time I’ve ever regretted anything I wrote was when I read a passage of my own work and realize I could’ve killed still more. (Whilch is why I’m not letting myself re-read this post.)
From one murderer to another: