"Reality offers us such a wealth that we must cut some of it out on the spot, simplify. The question is, do we always cut out what we should? ... We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole." Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004)
Friday, September 10, 2010
Same with writing. If you don't make the cuts, if you don't revise, the whole suffers. If you keep everything, you end up with nothing.
You have to "murder your darlings" (G K Chesterton). Invariably, those passages where you are thrilled with the language, and yourself, are the ones an editor will want to axe. (How do they know??) They seem to leap off the page at them. Perhaps it's that you got in the way and stopped serving the story and started showing off?
"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary that the necessary make speak" Hans Hoffman
Have this on my desk to remind me. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
John Grisham's Op Ed in the NYT today (in celebration of Labor Day) says writing is the hardest job he's ever had.
And he's had a few--laying asphalt, bulldozing, being a plumber, selling underwear, being a lawyer.
It's what they say--if you can possibly do something else, go and do it. If you can't, write.
And here's another article in the same vein (from The Guardian) about writing--this time children's books.