Cut, cut, cut!

Publish date:

Some great advice as I move into the final edits of my
thesis: Chop away your darlings! It's so hard to do sometimes, but doesn't it make all the difference?

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phoniness. There are going to be certain passages that you put in simply in the
hope of impressing people. It is true of me, and it is almost surely true of
you. I have maybe never known a writer of whom it is not true. But literary
pretension is the curse of postmodern age. We all have our favorite ways of
showing off, and they rarely serve us well. When you have identified your own
grandiosity, do not be kind. When Georges Simenon was an eager young wannabe in
Paris, none other than Colette herself advised him that his prose was ‘too
literary, always too literary.’ Thereafter, Simenon spent much of his amazing
career cutting away his efforts to impress. ‘It’s what I do when I write,” he said,
“the main job when I rewrite…. [I cut] every word which is there just to make
an effect. Every sentence which is there just for the sentence….Cut it.’”

Koch, The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop, A Guide to the Craft of Fiction

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