Wednesday, January 09, 2013

20 Great Writers on the Art of Revision

By Emily Temple on Flavorwire, 

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” — Elmore Leonard, Newsweek, 1985

“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it – wholeheartedly – and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.” — Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, On the Art of Writing, 1916
“I have rewritten — often several times — every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.” — Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory, 1966

“Mostly when I think of pacing, I go back to Elmore Leonard, who explained it so perfectly by saying he just left out the boring parts. This suggests cutting to speed the pace, and that’s what most of us end up having to do (kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings)…I got a scribbled comment that changed the way I rewrote my fiction once and forever. Jotted below the machine-generated signature of the editor was this mot: ‘Not bad, but PUFFY. You need to revise for length. Formula: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%. Good luck.’ — Stephen King, On Writing, 2000

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” — Mark Twain

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