Editing Tips and Quotes from Acclaimed Authors
Editing can be an incredibly difficult part of the writing process, even for the most well-known published authors. It
can be exhausting and heartbreaking. Segments that you loved writing and consider your favorite could still be cut for
the sake of your book as a whole.
But the fires of your creative spirit need to be tempered for you to become a published author. Use these tips and
quotes from published and even acclaimed writers to put you in the right mind while editing your book.
“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart,
kill your darlings.”
“I've found the best way to revise your own work is to pretend that somebody else wrote it and then to rip the
living s--- out of it.”
“Edit your manuscript until your fingers bleed and you have memorized every last word. Then, when you are
certain you are on the verge of insanity...edit one more time!”
"You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire
show through the smoke."
"Editing might be a bloody trade, but knives aren’t the exclusive property of butchers. Surgeons use them too."
“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you
have to step back and look at the forest.”
"No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft."
“When you reach the editing stage, it is often the case that you can get too involved with the story to detect
errors. You can see words in your head that aren't actually there on the page, sentences blur together and errors
escape you, and you follow plot threads and see only the images in your skull.”
“When I’m self-editing, I search for all those ‘was’es and ‘were’s and see if I
can write the sentences better without them. I usually can. This one tip made a huge difference to the quality of my
“Only God gets it right the first time and only a slob says, "Oh well, let it go, that's what copyeditors are
“Editing is like pruning the rose bush you thought was so perfect and beautiful until it overgrew the
“Editing is the very edge of your knowledge forced to grow--a test you can't cheat on.”
-S. Kelley Harrell
“When you catch an adjective kill it.”
“The adjective is the banana peel of the parts of speech.”
“No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published.”
-J. Russell Lynes
Hopefully these quotes from published authors help you as you undergo the arduous but important process of editing