Every writer is an editor if only for choosing one word over another. However, the ability to edit your own work consciously as you go along or after the work is done is another thing altogether and one that leaves many a writer nonplussed. Enter Bell, a long-time professional editor of both fiction and nonfiction (Dare to Hope: Saving American Democracy) as well as a teacher of editing at the New School in New York. Bell flat out states that self-editing is not only possible, it's necessary, and it can be learned. She provides a slew of ingenious methods for viewing your work with fresh eyes (hang the pages on a clothesline, use a different font when printing out). She also supplies exercises on macro-editing (dealing with structure, character, etc.). Neither how-to nor memoir, the book includes a little bit of everything: Bell's own experiences editing writers; a long section on how F. Scott Fitzgerald-the consummate self-editor-produced The Great Gatsby; lengthy quotes by well-known authors on their self-editing process; and a list of editing symbols. Bell's prose is elegant and wonderfully readable in this artful guide. (Aug.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourselfby Susan Bell
"Bell's prose is elegant and wonderfully readable in this artful guide."—Publishers WeeklyThe Artful Edit explores the many-faceted and often misunderstood—or simply overlooked—art of editing. The book brims with examples, quotes, and case studies, including an illuminating discussion of Max Perkins's editorial collaboration/em>/p>/em>
"Bell's prose is elegant and wonderfully readable in this artful guide."—Publishers WeeklyThe Artful Edit explores the many-faceted and often misunderstood—or simply overlooked—art of editing. The book brims with examples, quotes, and case studies, including an illuminating discussion of Max Perkins's editorial collaboration with F. Scott Fitzgerald on The Great Gatsby. Susan Bell, a veteran book editor, also offers strategic tips and exercises for self-editing and a series of remarkable interviews, taking us into the studios of successful authors such as Michael Ondaatje and Ann Patchett to learn from their various approaches to revision. Much more than a manual, The Artful Edit inspires readers to think about both the discipline and the creativity of editing and how it can enhance their work. In the computer age of lightning-quick composition, this book reminds readers that editing is not simply a spell-check. A vigorous investigation into the history and meaning of the edit, this book, like The Elements of Style, is a must-have companion for every writer.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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Meet the Author
Susan Bell has edited fiction and nonfiction professionally, including at Random House and Conjunctions magazine, for almost twenty years. She lives in New York City and teaches at The New School and Tin House Writers Workshop.
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Susan Bell offers fresh insight on the problems that bedevil every writer. The sections on the editing collaboration between F. Scott Fitzgerald & Maxwell Perkins for The Great Gatsby are especially inspiring for writers and good readers.
Ms. Bell shares her deep understanding (and love) of editing in a lively and thought-provoking style. She touches on virtually every facet of editing, including the often overlooked topic of "macro-editing" (read: seeing and the big picture). She makes copious use of F. Scott's Fitzgerald's own editing of The Great Gatsby, illustrating how astute revisions can help create a masterpiece. If nothing else, it's comforting to know that even a great writer doesn't always get it right the first time. I've read many books on writing, and this is one of the best, hands down.