Making love to me is amazing. Wait, I meant: making love, to me, is amazing. The absence of two little commas nearly transformed me into a sex god.
Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.
When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.
Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.
Anyone and everyone taking a writing class knows that the secret of good writing is to cut it back, pare it down, winnow, chop, hack, prune, and trim, remove every superfluous word, compress, compress, compress...Actually, when you think about it, not many novels in the Spare tradition are terribly cheerful. Jokes you can usually pluck out whole, by the roots, so if you're doing some heavy-duty prose-weeding, they're the first to go. And there's some stuff about the whole winnowing process I just don't get. Why does it always stop when the work in question has been reduced to sixty or seventy thousand words--entirely coincidentally, I'm sure, the minimum length for a publishable novel? I'm sure you could get it down to twenty or thirty if you tried hard enough. In fact, why stop at twenty or thirty? Why write at all? Why not just jot the plot and a couple of themes down on the back of an envelope and leave it at that? The truth is, there's nothing very utilitarian about fiction or its creation, and I suspect that people are desperate to make it sound manly, back-breaking labor because it's such a wussy thing to do in the first place. The obsession with austerity is an attempt to compensate, to make writing resemble a real job, like farming, or logging. (It's also why people who work in advertising put in twenty-hour days.) Go on, young writers--treat yourself to a joke, or an adverb! Spoil yourself! Readers won't mind!
I've found the best way to revise your own work is to pretend that somebody else wrote it and then to rip the living shit out of it.
Edit your manuscript until your fingers bleed and you have memorized every last word. Then, when you are certain you are on the verge of insanity...edit one more time!
I have always believed in the principle that immediate survival is more important than long-term survival.
It has been our experience that American houses insist on very comprehensive editing; that English houses as a rule require little or none and are inclined to go along with the author's script almost without query. The Canadian practice is just what you would expect--a middle-of-the-road course. We think the Americans edit too heavily and interfere with the author's rights. We think that the English publishers don't take enough editorial responsibility. Naturally, then, we consider our editing to be just about perfect. There's no doubt about it, we Canadians are a superior breed! (in a letter to author Margaret Laurence, dated May, 1960)
While writing is like a joyful release, editing is a prison where the bars are my former intentions and the abusive warden my own neuroticism.
How do you end a story that’s not yours? Add another sentence where there is a pause? Infiltrate the story with a comma when really there should have been a period? Punctuate with an exclamation point where a period would have sufficed? What if you kill something breathing and breathe life into something the author wanted to eliminate? How do you get inside the mind of a person who isn’t there? Fill the shoes of someone who will never again fill his own?
I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.
The internet is killing the art of writing. The big publish button begs you to publish even before you go back and make one single edit, and as if this was not enough, you have instant readers who praise your writing skills!-
... The Book is more important than your plans for it. You have to go with what works for The Book ~ if your ideas appear hollow or forced when they are put on paper, chop them, erase them, pulverise them and start again. Don't whine when things are not going your way, because they are going the right way for The Book, which is more important. The show must go on, and so must The Book.
Editors can be stupid at times. They just ignore that author’s intention. I always try to read unabridged editions, so much is lost with cut versions of classic literature, even movies don’t make sense when they are edited too much. I love the longueurs of a book even if they seem pointless because you can get a peek into the author’s mind, a glimpse of their creative soul. I mean, how would people like it if editors came along and said to an artist, ‘Whoops, you left just a tad too much space around that lily pad there, lets crop that a bit, shall we?’. Monet would be ripping his hair out.
Some of the most polished ideas are discovered through healthy, honest debate, so if you don't argue with yourself every once in a while, other people will gladly point out if, in any sense, you missed a spot.
I'd known since girlhood that I wanted to be a book editor. By high school, I'd pore over the acknowledgments section of novels I loved, daydreaming that someday a brilliant talent might see me as the person who 'made her book possible' or 'enhanced every page with editorial wisdom and insight.' Could I be the Maxwell Perkins to some future Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Wolfe?
[Women's magazines]ignore older women or pretend that they don’t exist; magazines try to avoid photographs of older women, and when they feature celebrities who are over sixty, ‘retouching artists’ conspire to ‘help’ beautiful women look more beautiful, ie less than their age...By now readers have no idea what a real woman’s 60 year old face looks like in print because it’s made to look 45. Worse, 60 year old readers look in the mirror and think they are too old, because they’re comparing themselves to some retouched face smiling back at them from a magazine.
Everything, indeed, in a work of art should be unedited,--and even the words, by the manner of grouping them, of shaping them to new meanings,--and one often regrets having an alphabet familiar to too many half-lettered persons.
If someone doesn't understand the importance of sensitivity readers, chances are they may need them the most...
You can edit what you write. Why not edit what you say? If it hurts somebody, you can still offer an apology or withdraw your statements
Don't be dismayed by the opinions of editors, or critics. They are only the traffic cops of the arts.
A brain is like a muscle, a serial connection that you should train everyday; if you don't use it, you loose it
I want you to judge me without thinking about it.I want you to give me advice without considering my opinion.I want you to expecting anything without the need to trust me.I want you to decide for me with all the care in the world.I want you to help me without smothering me.I want you to decide without seeing my point of view.I want you to hug me without holding me...I want you to feel protected in my presence without me having to lie.I want you to be close without suffocating me.I want you to know everything without knowing anything...I want you to know that both love and friendship should always be Unconditional.
[M]any people believe that memory works like a recording device. You just record the information, then you call it up and play it back when you want to answer questions or identify images. But decades of work in psychology has shown that this just isn't true. Our memories are constructive. They're reconstructive. Memory works a little bit more like a Wikipedia page: You can go in there and change it, but so can other people.
Border crossing' is a recurrent theme in all aspects of my work -- editing, writing, and painting. I'm interested in the various ways artists not only cross borders but also subvert them. In mythology, the old Trickster figure Coyote is a champion border crosser, mischievously dashing from the land of the living to the land of the dead, from the wilderness world of magic to the human world. He tears things down so they can be made anew. He's a rascal, but also a culture hero, dancing on borders, ignoring the rules, as many of our most innovative artists do. I'm particularly drawn to art that crosses the borders critics have erected between 'high art' and 'popular culture,' between 'mainstream' and 'genre,' or between one genre and another -- I love that moment of passage between the two; that place on the border where two worlds meet and energize each other, where Coyote enters and shakes things up. But I still have a great love for traditional fantasy, for Imaginary World, center-of-the-genre stories. I'm still excited by series books and trilogies if they're well written and use mythic tropes in interesting ways.
A person who wrote badly did better than a person who does not write at all. A bad writing can be corrected. An empty page remains an empty page.
To The Critics Suicide has made more than one mediocre author glorious before he's able to achieve that sobering second edition making his a suicide that waits until it's justified. But I've taken more precautions against to Suicide which is to survive in the face of failure. Success is mostly editing, that's what makes things nice. To edit is the other great Power; thus this novel started at age 30, continued at 50 and its 73, has finally achieve supremacy: a person of Good Taste as the third author and as a result the editor of all three. In the end I'll be the author of a letter to the critics a sort of open letter but for the living: suicide is not something you can edit out.
As we change, our writing changes too. You cannot write the same poem twice. And that's a good thing.
There are plenty of bad editors who try to impose their own vision on a book. (…)A good novel editor is invisible.
When she got back from taking Cassie to school Fancy knew that she ought to be working on her wilderness romance. She had promised thirty thousand words to her editor by tomorrow, and she had only written eleven. Specific
When an editor works with an author, she cannot help seeing into the medicine cabinet of his soul. All the terrible emotions, the desire for vindications, the paranoia, and the projection are bottled in there, along with all the excesses of envy, desire for revenge, all the hypochondriacal responses, rituals, defenses, and the twin obsessions with sex and money. It other words, the stuff of great books.
What importance should be given to details, in developing a subject?--Remorselessly sacrifice everything that does not contribute to clarity, verisimilitude, and effect.Accentuate everything that sets the main idea in relief, so that the impression be colourful, picturesque. It's sufficient that the rest be in its proper place, but in half-tone. That is what gives to style, as to painting, unity, perspective, and effect.- Constantin Georges Romain Héger, teacher to Charlotte Brontë