Originally coined as 'murder your darlings' by British author Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, coined again as "kill your darlings" by Faulkner, and advocated by King in his book "On Writing," the concept has been around for nearly a hundred years.
As said by Quiller-Couch, ‘Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.'
And summed up by King, 'kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.'
My novel is a long way yet from being 'sent to press' or even being sent to beta readers. Hell, at the pace I'm able to work on it right now, it's still a long way from even being finished. But at 4 am the other sleepless night, this concept popped into my head on the heels of a different way to conduct a scene that never quite felt right, even as I wrote it a few months ago.
Kill your darlings.
Even though the chapter that holds most of the scene of the 4 am brainstorm is by and large not anything I'd consider a darling, there are a few bits that I am partial to.
Kill them, say three people who've written their way to heights I can only dream of as yet.
But I come from a long line of pack-rats.
Granted, my family squirreled away buttons and odd bits of evidence of their lives, not so much words.
My house is the home of a pack-rat in recovery. We have a two-year rule - if it's not used or worn in two years, then you're not likely to use or wear it, so get rid of it. (There are a few exceptions to that rule, after all, I'm a rehabilitated pack-rat, not a cured one.)
Kill my darlings? Er, no.
Clobber them over the head and squirrel them away in a renamed file just in case I need them in the story they originated in or in a different tale? Ah, ya got me.
So, now, just shy of 69k words, my novel has its first secondary file.