Kill your darlings

The first draft of my novel, True Status, consisted of 62,000 words. When I rewrote the story, I slashed 23,000 words and added 47,000 new words. An improved story of 86,000 words resulted. My editor urged me to make the manuscript better, so more rewriting and pruning followed until I trimmed another 10,000 words.

Figuring out what to add and what to remove made all the difference. Anything that did not advance the story or deepen the reader’s understanding of the characters had to go. In the world of writing this is called “killing your darlings”, because we writers treasure the characters, scenes, and side plots we create, even if they don’t serve our story well. It’s painful to kill your darlings, but in order to create the best story possible they have to go.

In the Christian life we are called to follow Jesus and to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives. As with writers, Christ followers have to add new things to our lives like worship, service, prayer, and increased scripture intake. Other times we must eliminate things we dearly love, like habits, thought patterns, places, friends, and even family members, if they block us from fulfilling God’s purpose. The apostle Paul compares Christians as being a letter written by the Holy Spirit.

“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3 NIV)   

The Holy Spirit is working in you to create a masterpiece of your life. Will you allow the Spirit to add and remove things from your life, so you mature as a Christian and fulfill your God-ordained destiny? Do you resist the work of the Holy Spirit, because you’re afraid of what you will have to give up? Have faith. Fight fear. Combat laziness. God promises us we’ll gain more than we lose if we trust him. Allow the Spirit to kill your darlings so he can present you to Jesus as a mature, faithful Christian in the end.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

4 thoughts on “Kill your darlings”

  1. The title shows how profoundly difficult it is to make necessary changes in our lives. I have become complacent and not always willing to devote more time to bible study and prayer because I tell myself I’m too busy but as you noted, I just need to make changes in my life and stop making excuses. I hope that with prayer I will be able to do so.

  2. We are called to take up our cross and follow Christ daily. It can be a struggle to let go of the familiar. We have to be dedicated to Christ and remember he left us the Holy Spirit to guide as through difficult times, situations, and decisions daily. We must allow God’s will not our will to rule our lives.

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