Posts Tagged: editing
For Hazlitt, Steven Price writes a beautiful elegy to his former editor, Ellen Seligman. Seligman and Price collaborated on Price’s By Gaslight, published in August, five months after Seligman’s passing.
Editing, at its highest level, is surely a creative act.
Without editor Robert Gottlieb, contemporary classics such as True Grit and Catch-22 might not exist in the forms we know them—but that doesn’t seem to move him. In a rare interview for the Guardian, Michelle Dean visited Gottlieb at his New York home to talk about his long list of achievements, which he demurely brushes off; his forthcoming memoir; and why editors should lay low and let authors have the spotlight....more
The “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible” exhibition at the Met Breuer Gallery meant more than just incomplete art, writer Patricia Park shares at Catapult. Park was invited to speak at the exhibition’s launch, as were creatives from many different fields. The experience challenged her to think of the exhibition through the lens of her specific work, writing and editing:
As a writer who spent almost a decade tinkering with her first novel, Re Jane, and is now at work on her second, I could not help but view “Unfinished” through the lens of writing and editing.
Supposedly, the most-common question for a writer is , “Where do you get your ideas?” but in my experience, it is actually, “Do you outline?” I don’t outline, but I do fill notebooks with scribbled thoughts about where the story is and where it should be, and over the years I’ve realized that these pages inevitably take the form of a hybrid between potential plot moves and an editorial note on the existing material, as if I’m offering feedback on a student’s manuscript, or another writer’s work, rather than my own.
For Catapult, Anuradha Roy talks about the process of receiving editorial feedback and how we’re inclined to react poorly to that feedback. Roy takes us from the phone call from her brand-new publisher, suggesting she re-think her first chapter, to her old-wisdom, pottery influenced conclusion:
I now see fiction—my own and that of others—as work paused but never finished.
Editing. It’s the most reviled step of the writing process. It’s where we do the backbreaking work of word-weeding, where we must dissociate from ourselves enough to see our work objectively, where we’re forced to kill our darlings. It’s the dark place between writing and publication, mostly characterized by bloodshot eyes and crippling doubt....more
At Lit Hub, editor and author Jill Bialosky examines the ways in which writing and editing work themselves out in her mind. She writes in the early morning, before tackling anything else, and then goes to work critiquing the work of other authors:
What happens when my early morning hours have extinguished and it is time to go to the workplace where I earn a living?
Draftback is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to watch every keystroke of every revision made to a Google Doc played back to you, opening up a new way to study how writers write. Chadwick Matlin at FiveThirtyEight tried the extension, however, and he sees a dark side:
Embedded in Draftback’s ingenuity is also a certain kind of inevitability: that writing, like any commodity, is at the mercy of a technology that never forgets.
Bryan Henderson has made more than 47,000 edits to Wikipedia. This prolific career is not the product of Henderson’s great breath of knowledge, but rather because he has an obsession with fixing a specific grammatical mistake. The mistake he corrects over and over again is composed of two words: “comprised of.” His efforts to remove the error from the online encyclopedia have landed Henderson in the top 1,000 most active editors....more
What happens when writing ceases to be enjoyable? Over at Beyond the Margins, Dell Smith discusses how the joy of writing must eventually yield to the joy of a finished draft because while writing first drafts might be pleasurable, the work leading to a final draft rarely is:
The only way to finish something is to revise it.
The cycle of writing, editing, and publishing often leads to down time between drafts. Over at Beyond the Margins, Marlene Adelstein talks about not writing during the down time between submitting a finished manuscript and waiting to hear back from agents and editors:
This non-writing time made me feel edgy and unproductive.