A Simple Truth about Editing and Rewriting

I have been editing an interesting manuscript over the past couple weeks. While I cannot comment about the specifics, one simple truth has emerged from the process of editing and interacting with the author that I think is worth sharing. Please forgive the lack of examples.

Problems in thoughtful, but still unpolished manuscripts frequently offer authors opportunities to become clearer in their own minds about what they want to say. While it can be frustrating to discover that something one sweated over for hours will not work, it helps to embrace the problems that emerge, because they frequently force one to make connections one had not seen before. The result will be not only greater clarity in the author’s own mind, but a sharper, crisper, more interesting manuscript.

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4 comments
  1. adriana said:

    Another interesting example on Editing and Rewriting can be found here: http://www.hankstuever.com/blog/?m=201003

    Personally, I think that Editing is just part of the writing process: the more you edit your text, the better will be your final result. I don’t believe in writing being a short process of jotting down a few sentences on a blank paper: it requires a lot of thinking both in terms of ideas and structure.

    • Editing is indeed part of the writing process, but sometimes even thoroughly self-edited manuscripts can be unclear on this or that point, either because the author is too close to the subject, or the author is writing in a foreign language, to name just two possibilities. I shared these brief observations, though, because I wanted to underline the basic truth you underline. My point is that the problems that arise in the writing process, the problems that can frustrate the writer, usually offer opportunities.

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