on editing

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

‎”You need a certain head on your shoulders to edit a novel, and it’s not the head of a writer in the thick of it, nor the head of a professional editor who’s read it in twelve different versions. It’s the head of a smart stranger who picks it off a bookshelf and begins to read. You need to get the head of that smart stranger somehow. You need to forget you ever wrote that book.”  ~Zadie Smith

“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.”  ~Colette

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” ~Stephen King

or to put it another way

“Read your own compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.” ~Samuel Johnson

“Will you tell me my fault, frankly as to yourself, for I had rather wince, than die. Men do not call the surgeon to commend the bone, but to set it, Sir.” ~Emily Dickinson

“In art economy is always beauty.”  ~Henry James

“What I have crossed out I didn’t like. What I haven’t crossed out I’m dissatisfied with.” ~Cecil B. DeMille

“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

and to finish, you knew I couldn’t resist

“Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”  ~Albert Einstein

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