Publishing and Media

The Art of Editing

The always interesting texts from “Writers Ask,” the quarterly magazine produced by Glimmer Train, include a quote from Charles Johnson that could apply to all writers, whether of fiction or non-fiction.

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Telling a Story

When one thinks about it, writing a book is a lot like being like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner. The reader is the wedding guest, a guy who’s got his mind on much more fun things than to listen to your story, and who’s very resistant when you collar him and demand that he pay attention.

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Read Your Manuscript Aloud

Glimmer Train used to provide subscribers with a booklet called “Writers Ask,” in which fiction writers talk about their craft, work habits, challenges, and other matters to do with putting words into an interesting order and getting them printed by a publisher. Here’s Ann Patchett offering a great tip for writers to help them revise:

I always read my books aloud when I’m finished, and it’s always torture. But there are things you catch when you hear it that you just can’t see when reading. While working on “The Magician’s Assistant,” I got my dog, Rose. When I finished I read the novel aloud to my grandmother. Every third metaphor in the book was a dog metaphor: “He stretched out on the floor like a dog”; “Her hair was like a bunch of springer spaniels.” Every time I heard the word “dog,” it hit me like a gong.

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