“…you can almost always make something better by making it shorter…” Keith Gessen QUOTES FOR WRITERS

BRIDGET WHELAN writer

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I once heard George Saunders tell a story about being edited at the New Yorker, where his editor kept asking him to cut a highly precise number of lines—18 lines, 25 lines. And George would go do it each time thinking that the editor had a very specific vision for his story. But then he realized the editor just wanted it to be shorter. And the advice here was: There’s almost no piece of writing that can’t be improved by removing 18, then 25, then 21 lines; i.e. you can almost always make something better by making it shorter.
Keith Gessen

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7 thoughts on ““…you can almost always make something better by making it shorter…” Keith Gessen QUOTES FOR WRITERS

      1. I’ve got to a point now when I’m more or less impervious to that pain. I’ve ripped books apart and turned much-loved male protagonists into female ones… That was probably the hardest loss to bear:)

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m having to rethink this though. I wrote a very concise piece and was then given the advice to open it all up with lots of descriptive writing, etc. And it’s working. I might be inclined to go a little too lean . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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