Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Editing a book is hard

"The limitation of the great stylists--Henry James, say, or Hemingway, is that you remember their voices long after you've forgotten the voices of any of the people they wrote about. In one of the Psalms, God says, 'Be still and know that I am God.' I've always taken that to be good literary advice too. Be still the way Tolstoy is still, be still the way Anthony Trollope is still, so that your characters can become gods and speak for themselves and come alive in their own ways."

--Frederick Buechner


Anonymous said...

Also i think, good advice for life.

Laura said...

Alternately, I know a number of people who consider a strong authorial voice a strength, especially when a unique point of view is being presented. For example, when you read Kafka, you always feel his personal presence, but that's kind of why we read Kafka. We love that presence.

I say, go with what works best for your art, for what you're ultimately trying to say.

And yes, editing is HARD.

K said...

Laura, how's your work going? I know--to be a great stylist, hey I'd settle for that...I'm gutting my manuscript right now. Plenty of time to edit since noone will be buying a book until summer, especially from new writers. Thanks economy!

And yes, totally good advice for life too...how do I be still? Something that I always ask as I'm running somewhere quite late...

Laura said...

I really think hard times like this help weed out the undedicated (you know, those who are more interested in the mystique of writing than the actual writing process), so just keep plodding. The nice thing about writing is that you don't have to be young to do it. Just imagine the panic aspiring actors must be in right now!

My fiction writing has stalled, but I'm feeling good about the films I'm making right now. :)