Kill Your Darlings

The great writers all say it—to write is to revise. It’s all in the edit.

The great story, poem, or essay rarely comes out all in one piece. It’s discovered, or uncovered. It doesn’t spring forth like water from the Trevi Fountain, as much as we wish it did. Or suffer because we think it should.

“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

I like to hear other writers discuss their writing process because it reminds me that I’m not alone. Writing isn’t easy. Perhaps we are a bunch of masochists, but we are dedicated.

“Writing and rewriting are a constant search for what it is one is saying.” — John Updike

Because when the ideas are coming and the words are flowing, there’s nothing better.

“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

It is hard work. And I’m not even sure it’s noble work, given all the angst. But… we can’t seem to help ourselves. Read more on today’s Flavorpill. 

writing

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