Faulkner famously remarked that "in writing, you must kill your darlings." By this I've taken him to mean that the things we are proudest of in our stories—the perfect metaphors, the exquisite scenes—might indeed by expressions of artistry, but mostly they are just distractions to the reader. As writers we are often accurate judges of our work, but not always so, which is yet another reason we need editors. I'm dealing with this now as I undertake a revision of my second novel. My editor has marked up a few of my darlings, and now I must decide whether I have the guts to do away with them.