Once in a while, as you write, you conjure up a sentence so beautiful and perfect it becomes your darling. It stands apart from other sentences. It’s evocative, eloquent, and sharp. Nothing you do could make it any better.
There’s only one problem. Once you get down to editing, a part of a scene housing that sentence has to go. You have to take your darling to the edge of the woods and get rid of it. Your ring finger touches the delete key but does not press.
You know instinctively that a fragment of your story could be made better by quicker pacing, rewriting dialogue, or a different action sequence altogether. But no. You give it a wide berth because it would mean deleting your best writing.
I don’t know about you, but I gladly jump through mental hoops to keep my darlings, even though I know they stand in the way of a better story.
Here’s a solution. Create a folder or a file and call it “for later,” or “deleted writing,” or “disposal unit,” or “discard pile” (I use this last one).
Instead of deleting great passages, cut and paste them into this new file. This is the literary equivalent of taking a lamp you no longer need but don’t want to throw out because you like it too much, to a cluttered basement. It’s not deleted. It’s still there. If you change your mind, you can go back and use it later.
Is it cheating? Of course it is! You’ll never look inside that folder ever again. But that’s the point. If killing your darling sentences is too hard, move them to a special place.