Writing and Editing, 54

“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?” ~ Shaila Abdullah

Writing and Editing Fiction

“The trouble is, very few people, even in the least provincial communities, seem to understand that the motive for fiction, or the impulse from which it arises, is a serious one. They think of fiction as having no value except that of amusing and passing the time; and so it is impossible for them to understand why it could not just as well be pleasant and pretty.” ~ Maxwell E. Perkins

Rewriting . . .

“Learn to enjoy this tidying process. I don’t like to write; I like to have written. But I love to rewrite. I especially like to cut: to press the DELETE key and see an unnecessary word or phrase or sentence vanish into the electricity. I like to replace a humdrum word with one that has more precision or color. I like to strengthen the transition between one sentence and another. I like to rephrase a drab sentence to give it a more pleasing rhythm or a more graceful musical line. With every small refinement I feel that I’m coming nearer to where I would like to arrive, and when I finally get there I know it was the rewriting, not the writing, that won the game.”

~ William Zinsser