Stephen King’s book On Writing contains, among other helpful pieces of advice, this gem: Kill your darlings.* Sounds very King-esque, right? What he means is that you need to chop out scenes or sentences or paragraphs that you are especially proud of but that don’t advance the plot or help the book in any way.
Some months ago, while I was on a Madeleine L’Engle reading (and re-reading) kick, I came across a fascinating quote about fiction. Two of L’Engle’s granddaughters wrote an Introduction that is printed in newer editions of the Austin family books. Here’s the part of their intro that resonated with me, and that I’ve been ruminating on: