Kill your Darlings - top Editing tips and tricks

Improve Your Life 4 min read
man at computer with arms stretched to back of head. purple text box in upper left corner reads :Kill you darlings-TOP editing tips and tricks
Kill your Darlings-top editing tips and tricks

Editing is a very emotional and time-consuming process. Changing a blog post or a written piece can lead to you pulling out your own hair. Or ignoring the piece for ages. Another approach is to proofread for simple errors, like spelling, or punctuation. then, posting the piece and hoping for the best.

Some of this anxiety towards editing comes from not knowing what to change, besides simple punctuation and grammar mistakes. Not knowing the simple tips and tricks to make your pieces go from zero to hero creates unnecessary anxiety. However, if you continue reading I will give you some simple advice to make you edit smarter not harder.

Kill your darlings

Throughout the writing industry, you will hear its views on editing. The number one line (in fact it's a bit of a trope at this point.) is ‘kill your darlings.’ The trope is correct. As a writer, you grow an attachment to lines whether it be dialogue, description, and sometimes setting. However, those pieces of dialogue, description, or; that one quote that is really cool. Are usually the lines you don’t need.

Emotional attachment to these lines, that they might be lost forever. Can make cutting them from your document tense. It’s a business negotiation between your brain, and what you want on the page. creating a tense feeling, similar to that of filling the blank page. Which makes the process more grueling than it should be.

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My suggestion is to open up another document. Copy and paste those lines you like, but don’t need, onto that new document. That way the writing isn’t lost, and you can re-use that really awesome metaphor for another day. We’ve gone from ‘kill your darlings’ to ‘remove the darlings from the situation’. This should alleviate some of the stress you feel. Helping you make the drastic decisions needed when omitting work.

Logical sense

Everybody knows when editing to look for basic spelling, grammar, and tensing mistakes. It’ll have been drilled into you since nursery. However, people usually forget logical sense. What I mean by that is: If we applied the rules of the real world to this moment. Does it make sense to the reader?

For example, if I wrote: ‘Once we got back from our trip to Vancouver I started showering and unpacked our belongings from the luggage.’

When editing this line, think about how someone behaves when they’re back from a trip. Do people usually shower straight away?

Unless you’re making this part of a character trait; or you’re a travel blogger and you did come home and shower straight away, change the order. When returning from a trip most people would relax, then unpack. So, you’d change the order of action to something that was more realistic for example:

‘Once we got back from our trip to Vancouver I watched TV, then I decided to order food. When I recovered from a stuffed belly, I dragged myself upstairs and unpacked my luggage. Before bed, I showered.’

Now as I mentioned earlier if you blog about a trip. And, you did shower when returning then, you would keep the order. You would have to change ‘started showering’ to ‘showered’ as the ‘started’ is redundant and not needed.

‘Once we got back from our trip to Vancouver. I showered, then when I was clean and dry I unpacked the luggage.’

Notice how I also added the: ‘then when I was clean and dry’ I did this as, if I kept it to how it was originally it would that the speaker was showering and unpacking the luggage at the same time.

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Narrative distance

In writing, we like to make vivid continuous dream sequences. In short, we like to keep our readers gripped with descriptions, without them breaking concentration.

To help with this we limit narrative distance. Which is a long-winded way of saying: limit the number of times you use I/He/Him/Her/They or Them. It reminds the reader there is a narrator. Taking them out of the story, ruining the vivid continuous dream sequence.

This doesn’t mean don’t ever use those pronouns or narrative viewpoints ever! Just be sparing with how you use it- try changing beginning to words beginning in .ed or a verb instead.


Keeping things simple is always best. It doesn’t give the reader any hang-ups trying to find the definition of a confusing word. and, it doesn’t bog down a narrative with so much complexity a reader gets fed up and stops reading.

It’s better to keep descriptions simple. Try not to fall back on cliches’ it's good to not take actions, and vocabulary is so complex it's unreadable. Always ask yourself if what you are reading is simple, but good. If not, edit it and swap it for something else!

I hope these simple tips and tricks will help your future writing endeavors. Thank you for reading Kill your darlings- Editing tips and tricks. If you need more help with your blog writing then this course will really help you out.

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