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The Kit Kat Editing Theory | A Sweet Method

With Halloween on the horizon, it’s hard not to walk into most stores and find aisles devoted to Trick-Or-Treating goodies. The shelves and bins overflowing with party-sized bags of minibars may be intended to be passed out to kids in costumes, but I’ve grown to see it as an opportunity to stock up on my favorites—especially when I find variety packs of my favorites you wouldn’t see most times of the year.

When it comes to these big bags, I’ve always made a beeline for the chocolate.

Between getting older and my tastes changing and having worked in a chocolate store in the past, I’ve become a bit pickier when it comes to my favorite candy, but some of my childhood favorites have endured into adulthood.

Among them are Kit Kats.

Not so long ago, there was a post circulating about the filling of Kit Kat being made of recycled Kit Kats, a fact confirmed by an article from Today.

Kit Kats that don’t make the cut due to imperfections are ground up and made into the paste sandwiched between the wafers of future bars.

This got me thinking about the way I edit my fiction.

A major part of the process for most writers is cutting unnecessary bits from drafts, the results ranging from drastic changes like deleting an entire chapter or smaller tweaks like doing away with an exchange of dialogue.

In my experience, this becomes harder to accomplish with each round of revisions.

There are things I have no problem cutting, but the further into editing a project, the more frequently I have to confront and kill my darlings.

To recap my post on the subject, “Murdering your darlings” refers to having to make tough calls and delete parts of your writing that you love but don’t contribute to the piece or bring it down. Darlings tend to be the things writers get attached to and want to fight for to the point they are willing to bend over backwards to work in, but ultimately—and often reluctantly—have to bid farewell to for the overall good of the story.

Putting my darlings on the chopping block is always a hard time, but I’ve made it easier to concede to the importance of those cuts by transferring them to the “Graveyard.” This file acts as something of a junk drawer that stores darlings I’ve cut from various WIPs with the hope I’ll be able to resurrect them down the road. Whether this means they find their place in a different part of the story in which they originated or in an entirely different one I’ve yet to begin.

In other words, my murdered darlings become like Kit Kat filling. What falls short of making the cut has the potential to be revived in the future, serving a different purpose.

The Kit Kat mentality has made tackling this phase of editing less painful. Killing m darlings and sending them to the graveyard doesn’t always mean they’re gone for good. Many have and will be reused, even if that means breaking them down and repurposing them.

Rejection does not signify an absolute end. Sometimes, with a little reworking ad revamping, you can find your cut darlings’ true home.



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