Murder your darlings

“The artist ruthlessly cuts away all the material that is not vital to his story.”

Tilden’s advice (admittedly interdisciplinary) is addressed to interpreters (a rather interdisciplinary occupation, now that I think of it). But it has other parallels. Writers of fiction, seeking clarity and (perhaps) brevity, are urged to cut words. They have the luxury (well, I see it as a luxury; interpreters and performance artists might disagree) of murdering their darlings in private, not while performing for and interacting directly with an audience, but the principle is the same. And I can’t help but think of appraisal. I imagine Mr. Tilden would approve of weeding one’s newly accessioned collection.

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