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January 20, 2018
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Killing Your *Whats*?

by Yossi Horowitz on 02/20/14 02:39:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutraís community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Exactly when was the phrase “kill your babies” (which refers, of course, to the excision of an aspect of a creative work whose presence you value but which detracts from the quality or consistency of the work as whole) supplanted by the phrase “kill your darlings”?

There are no babies present in my life at this point, though someday there might be. (The possibility, however, becomes more remote should someone who might consider raising children with me happen across this blog post, replete as it is with references to baby-killing.) However, unless some unpredictable event occurs which causes my style in use of language to undergo a drastic transformation, it is extremely unlikely that I will ever have present anything in my life which I would refer to as a “darling.”

I am therefore entirely unable to relate the emotional difficulties that people are intending to convey when they make use of the phrase. You’d like to kill one of my darlings? Go ahead! Kill all my darlings for all I care -- I certainly won’t miss ‘em.

But baby killing -- that is definitely a thing that I can get behind not doing. If you want a game developer who is reluctant to kill babies, then I am most definitely your man.

So please, let us bring back “kill your babies” and lay “kill your darlings” to rest. Much obliged.

Postscript: A bit of research has indicated that darling-killing came first, in a quote attributed to William Faulkner. I don’t care -- less with the darling-killing and more with the baby-killing, please.

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