I don't remember where I got the phrase, though I think it was from my partner-in-crime Lucas, (you can check out a little of his writing at the "Infinite Quacking" link over there--- in my blogroll, though it is woefully out of date!) or Adam Heine (another blogger I read, check out "Author's Echo", again in the blogroll). I believe it sounds quite a bit more morbid than it actually is.
Basically, killing your "little darlings" is editing (read: cutting out) words, sentences, or even entire pieces of your writing. More specifically: words, sentences, and entire pieces of your writing, that you LOVE. It's a tough process, and I find myself with internal debate each time it occurs.
"Wow, that just doesn't fit there at all," I said to myself.
"It doesn't hurt anything, and it's just SO poetic!" I replied enthusiastically.
"Well... No. No, it doesn't belong, and it's just going to give the reader more questions."
Panicked and afraid to lose, I pulled out all the stops, "But... But that sentence could be the pinnacle of my writing!"
"Hmmm, well I suppose I could wait until someone else... NO! I have to cut it."
"Sob sob, whimper whimper."
Anyhow, (sorry if that was a bit ridiculous, but I think I've made my point) I've finished the third chapter of my editing, and I found myself having to cut a lot. I mean, it was wanton destruction! I was cutting and changing words, altering sentence structure, and highlighting whole paragraphs... (highlighting makes it easier to stare solemnly, sadly even.) DELETE.
And this is only my first edit, in which I'm mostly reading for grammar and punctuation. Right after this, comes my revision, which is almost guaranteed to be a blood-bath.
On the bright side, I am already getting some great feedback from my crit partner. That means, as I go through slaughtering my "little darlings," I can blame her. :)
I think that's all I have for now,
buh bye, then