Writing and Editing, 58

The focus of the following quote seems to be on newspaper articles. However, every observation and conclusion that Peter Drucker stresses with regard to the processes of writing and editing, directly relate to the same processes when any genre is concerned.

“Every first-rate editor I have ever heard of reads, edits and rewrites every word that goes into his publication . . . Good editors are not ‘permissive’; they do not let their colleagues do ‘their thing’; they make sure that everybody does the ‘paper’s thing.’ A good, let alone a great editor is an obsessive autocrat with a whim of iron, who rewrites and rewrites, cuts and slashes, until every piece is exactly the way he thinks it should have been done.” ~ Peter Drucker (1909-2005)

Writing and Editing, 55

This week’s quote describes me to a T.

“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 wont the game.” ~ William Zinsser

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

Writing and Editing, 51

“This leads me to the Higher Editing. Take of well-ground Indian Ink as much as suffices and a camel-hair brush proportionate to the inter-spaces of your lines. In an auspicious hour, read your final draft and consider faithfully every paragraph, sentence and word, blacking out where requisite. Let it lie by to drain as long as possible. At the end of that time, re-read and you should find that it will bear a second shortening. Finally, read it aloud alone and at leisure. Maybe a shade more brushwork will then indicate or impose itself. If not, praise Allah and let it go, and ‘when thou hast done, repent not.’ The shorter the tale, the longer the brushwork and, normally, the shorter the lie-by, and vice versa. The longer the tale, the less brush but the longer lie-by. I have had tales by me for three or five years which shortened themselves almost yearly. The magic lies in the Brush and the Ink. For the Pen, when it is writing, can only scratch; and bottled ink is not to compare with the ground Chinese stick. Experto crede.” ~ Rudyard Kipling