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William Lashner's PI-Writing Blog

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm working on a scene in a diner. It's a good scene, tense and funny, but there are a few parts that seem to go on a bit long. Every line seems to fit, but still, the overall impression of these parts is that they could be swifter.

Cutting is the easiest part of revising, you just have to be willing. Faulkner famously once said, "In writing, you must kill all your darlings." It's amazing that you press a button and the thing gets magically better. Even if the thing you cut is pretty good, sometimes the increase in pace improves everything.

The best advice I ever got on writing was from James Salter, one the best writers in America: "A writer's first job is to be interesting."

And the corollary to the best advice I ever got on writing: "One way to be interesting is to cut out everything that's not interesting."

It's a brutal job, so be brutal.


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