The Graveyard of Killed Darlings

The graveyard of killed darlings is a place where authors can bury their beloved words without completely forgetting about them. It also is a concept I think a lot of authors could benefit from. It currently comes in two forms which both have their own various uses and qualities.

The first form is a just a folder on your desktop between your other writing folders which you undoubtedly might have and looks a little like this:


Instead of dumping everything which you hate in your Biohazard bin, you put the failed projects and snippets in their own little folder (Grave) and put them in the graveyard folder for you to admire and cry about at a later time. My graveyard currently looks like this:


Not only have I not lost hours of my beloved work but I can also come back to laugh at or desecrate some of the graves. A lovely example of this form of desecration is in the family grave of short stories. Let’s have a look at who, until recently, was buried there.


The flickering torch was a story which I wrote in early 2016 and was one I recently rewrote to fit the world of Caspia. On the graveyard of killed darlings, necromancy is not only available, it is recommended.

Another benefit which people might have from the graveyard is reading the headstones (Documents) to see how much they have grown since they wrote them. I took a walk through my graveyard and found this little story I wrote when I first started. Here’s a little snippet for you to feel good about as well: Screenshot_4

(It gets much worse than this snippet.)

So to sum it up, the graveyard offers a permanent place on your desktop for your Killed Darlings to stay at, allows you to see how much you have grown, can make you feel better about yourself, can show you how much work you truly have done and teaches you that necromancy is fantastic.

PS: If you don’t think something is worth having a grave; keep in mind that the biohazard bin is only a few folders away.


The second form of the graveyard is one I think is more for the readers than for the author but is one which still is a good/fun one to make.

When you are making up a lovely fictional city or writing about a city which already has one, describe the graveyard somewhere in your writing. If your characters are walking along the headstones, think up initials or names for the characters or aspects of the story which didn’t end up making it into the book and give them a brief description. If any of your readers ever ask what “Fred” is, you can explain that it was a character which you didn’t think was beneficial to the story and that you brutally murdered them for no good reason. Everyone has their own Fred. I did, George R.R. Martin did many times and J.K. Rowling certainly did as well.

The fact that people and things have died in your story will not only add a layer of depth and seriousness to your story, it also provides cute little titbits for your readers to discover and make the greatest fan-fiction about. Who knows, maybe someone will take your killed character and turn their fan-fiction about them into a bestselling trilogy which other authors occasionally make fun of.

Bury your Fred in your novel and entertain your readers with the thing they might find out about it!


Have you built graveyards or have ideas on how to improve the concept? Share them with me on TWITTER or on the CONTACT page or in the comment section.






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