07 September 2011

Keeping Words in Perspective

I'm hard at work, revising my guts out, trying to put together a clean, compact post which I was invited to contribute to a friend's blog. It's one thing to muck around here, but I don't want to leave a mess if I can help it over at her place. Ugh, editing is hard. Let's go to the mall.

Here are some diverting quotes I found on the subject of edits and revisions. They're keeping me going, and from taking myself too seriously. Slash and burn! Oh, that's my motto now!

Writing is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination.
—Louise Brooks

Short stories are designed to deliver their impact in as few pages as possible. A tremendous amount is left out, and a good short story writer learns to include only the most essential information.
—Orson Scott Card

I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.
—Truman Capote

It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly.
—C. J. Cherryh

Half of being smart is knowing what you're dumb at.
—David Gerrold

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
—Thomas Jefferson

The moment of recognizing your own lack of talent is a flash of genius.
—Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.
—Blaise Pascal

Everything that is written merely to please the author is worthless.
—Blaise Pascal

One extends one's limits only by exceeding them.
—M. Scott Peck

It is better to write a bad first draft than to write no first draft at all.
—Will Shetterly

The wastepaper basket is the writer's best friend.
—Isaac Bashevis Singer

You never learn how to write a novel. You just learn how to write the novel that you're writing.
—Gene Wolfe

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.
—Frank Yerby

A young musician plays scales in his room and only bores his family. A beginning writer, on the other hand, sometimes has the misfortune of getting into print.
—Marguerite Yourcenar

Inside every fat book is a thin book trying to get out.


Scott said...

Great quotes. I'll have to store some of these for future reference.

Melody said...

Brilliant! And brief. Good luck with your project.

P.S. I've always believed in an inseparable union of truth and brevity.

Melody said...

. . . wait. . .inseparable isn't quite the right word, maybe permanent or perfect or divine . . . or maybe just leave the adjective out altogether. Yes, that's better. . . I don't have time to mess with this right now.