THE AGONY OF EDITING
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be doing edits to my manuscript—finally. Especially after spending years writing and rewriting and changing and revising, making chapter four chapter one and later dropping chapter one altogether and replacing it with what was once chapter one in 2006.
So clearly I’m in the home stretch. However, I find editing as challenging as writing, maybe more so.
In order to help me, inspire me, encourage me and just move me along, I have compiled a list of quotes, which I taped by my computer.
Here they are in no special order of significance.
May you find them helpful too.
There is no great writing, only great rewriting.
Writing is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination.
I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
All writing is a process of elimination.
It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly.
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
Try any goddam thing you like, no matter how boringly normal or outrageous. If it works, fine. If it doesn’t, toss it. Toss it even if you love it.
I have written – often several times – every word I have ever published.
It is my contention that a really great novel is made with a knife and not a pen. A novelist must have the intestinal fortitude to cut out even the most brilliant passage so long as it doesn’t advance the story.
“When in doubt, delete it.”
“Art, it seems to me, should simplify finding what conventions of form and what detail one can do without and yet preserve the spirit of the whole – so that all that one has suppressed and cut away is there to the reader’s consciousness as much as if it were in type on the page.”
“The main thing I try to do is write as clearly as I can. I rewrite a good deal to make it clear.”