Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dumb Advice From Great Writers I


William Faulkner wrote some of the greatest novels of the 20th century,Absalom, AbsalomSound and the FuryAs I Lay Dying, and created a fiction county across more than a dozen novels that is one of the greatest creations by any writer, any country, any language.

 But when it comes to giving advice about writing, he sometimes has me scratching my head and wondering what the heck was he thinking.

A good example is the statement “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”

This is one of the most quoted pieces of writing advice.  There's even a movie called "Kill Your Darlings"--though I don't think it has much to do with Faulkner or writing.

 What's he mean?  Kill off your best characters?  The ones you like most?  Or -- as some have suggested -- scratch out the stuff in your book that you like the best?  

And where do you end up if you do that?

Writing something that is full of stuff you don't like?


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