"Wherever men have lived there is a story to be told." Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Critiquing Your Own Work

Do you ever have problems critiquing and revising your own work? Don't know where to begin? Here are a few interesting quotes on the subject from well-known writers:

"Think of and look at your work as though it were done by your enemy. If you look at it to admire it, you are lost." Samuel Butler

"A writer is unfair to himself when he is unable to be hard on himself." Marianne Moore

"I write my first version in longhand (pencil). Then I do a complete revision, also in longhand . . . then I type a third draft on yellow paper, a very special certain kind of yellow paper. No, I don't get out of bed to do this. I balance the machine on my knees. Sure, it works fine; I can manage a hundred words a minute. Well, when the yellow draft is finished, I put the manuscript away for a while, a week, a month, sometimes longer. When I take it out again, I read it as coldly as possible, then read it aloud to a friend or two, and decide what changes I want to make and whether or not I want to publish it. I've thrown away rather a few short stories, an entire novel, and half of another. But if all goes well, I type the final version on white paper and that's that." Truman Capote


Shawn Michel de Montaigne said...

'Tis still not enough, Mr. Capote.

I edit my chapters on the order of 40 times each.

But then again, I'm not Truman Capote....

Oh, well.

Linda Sandifer said...

I also do many more revisions than Capote, so Shawn shouldn't feel alone. By the time my books get published, I never read them again because I don't want to see something else that should have been changed. :)