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Killing Off Your Darlings

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I have been quoted the phrase, 'You must kill off your darlings' over and over since I began writing, along with, ‘Put your heroine into a hole and throw rocks at her’ to create as much conflict as possible to keep your readers turning pages. Apparently almost every major 20th century author has been cited at one time or another as using this phrase or a variation of it. Stephen King put it well: “kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

I appear to have interpreted the 'kill' one literally, but as I am writing cosy mysteries surely that’s forgivable? Someone has to be murdered in a mystery and making it two victims or more in extreme cases, gives the pace an often well needed boost.

A ‘darling’ isn’t necessarily your hero or heroine and they don’t have to die gurgling pool of blood on your page. In cosies that isn’t supposed to happen anyway as the actual murder takes place off stage an…

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