Lessons in novel editing

An experienced novelist friend of mine said “a first draft is like weaving cloth, editing is cutting and sewing the garment together from it”. She is quite right. Although it feels like it takes as much blood, sweat, toil and tears as writing the draft in the first place, the result is well worth it. From the material springs a more shapely form, its lines more pleasing, its shape more flattering and it hangs together in an improved way. My advice from this exercise: don’t be afraid to take out the scissors, strictly cut out and trim back, then deftly sew the elements together again. This is the difference between mechanised production and hand tailoring, even in the world of writing.

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