I killed a darling today. In fact, I killed several. One of my stories, that was 3500 words long, had some nice writing (at least I thought so), but I noticed I was never sending it into contests. Why not? Because it had a prolonged dream section, that I felt uncomfortable about, because nobody likes stories with big dream sequences (except for Rebecca and 'Last night I dreamt of Manderley...').  I was censoring the story, holding it back from competitions as I knew it would be rejected. Eventually, I would retire the story and it would slip into my archive folder. However, I had a contest to enter, which needed exclusive stories (i.e. not entered in any other competitions - see this blog piece to learn more), and all of my stories were out there lingering in rejection piles (OK, so maybe a couple were edging towards shortlists). I had the sudden idea, of chopping out the dream sequence and seeing if I could turn it into a 'normal' story. After much hacking, I managed to achieve something reasonable. The story went from 3500 words to 2000. It will probably not win or even get longlisted, but it may get entered into a few more contests now. We're all told, as writers, to kill our darlings, and it can be tough. Today I did it. I feel good.