The wisdom of the edit…

Having written ‘The End’ on the completed main draft of ‘A Spider In The Eye’ a week or so ago, I have the daunting task of doing a full edit of the manuscript. I both love and loathe editing in equal measure, but as such, I find myself in need of a little inspiration form the worthy and the wise. (And I haven’t put together a post of quotes from writers for a while, and they always seem popular for some reason.)   Here then are a few snippets of wisdom for anyone setting out on that strange journey of self-flagellation that is a final edit…

So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.  ~ Dr. Seuss

I edit my own stories to death. They eventually run and hide from me.   ~  Jeanne Voelker

Verbose is not a synonym for literary. ~ Constance Hale

No words are too good for the cutting-room floor, no idea so fine that it cannot be phrased more succinctly.  ~ Merilyn Simonds

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Whatever in a work of art is not used, is doing harm.  ~ C.S. Lewis

You should edit before and after editing.  ~ Dwayne Fry

Writing is like shadow boxing. Editing is when the shadows fight back.  ~ Adam Copeland

I have rewritten — often several times — every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers. ~ Vladimir Nabokov


Editing fiction is like using your fingers to untangle the hair of someone you love.
~ Stephanie Roberts

Editing is like pruning the rose bush you thought was so perfect and beautiful until it overgrew the garden.  ~ Larry Enright

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

When I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will stay split…. ~ Raymond Chandler

And finally, what could and indeed probably is my personal mantra on the subject…

There is no great writing, only great rewriting. ~ Justice Louis Brandeis


Previous posts on writing, publish, editing, anything else to do with the craft and a whole lot of quotes…


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