Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Rewriting for writers: when it's necessary

Would be writers often get very hot under the collar about changing their text. Especially if they've sweated over it for a while. So it's always encouraging then to hear about writers we might revere who have struggled like us.

I was reading an article in the Guardian at the weekend, taken originally from The New Yorker about Norman Mailer and his struggles with one of his books.

In a letter to his editor, he talks about knowing that there are parts of the book he describes as 'dead places' and needing attention.

It's his intention to clean up those parts and he's very firm about it. In a humble way I agree with him. No matter what text you write, there are very few times that it can't be improved, sharpened and re-focused.

But to do that you need a bit of distance from writing it and then put on another hat to become that editor who can quite firmly tell you to lose part of what you've written and the whole thing will stand out clearer and sparkle more.

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