My wife took a look at the first version of something I was writing not long ago and said,
“Dammit, man, that’s high school stuff.”
I have to tell her to wait until the seventh draft, it’ll work out all right.
I don’t know why that should be so, that the first or second draft of everything
I write reads that way.
Everything that can be said can be said clearly.
Getting it wrong is part of
getting it right.
Respect your reader. The niftiest turn of phrase, the most elegant flight of rhetorical fancy, isn’t worth beans next to a clear thought clearly expressed.
. . . novelists . . . have, on average, about the same IQs as the cosmetic consultants at Bloomingdales’s department store. our power is patience. We have discovered that writing allows even a stupid person to seem halfway intelligent, if only that person will write the same thought over and over again, improving it just a little bit each time. It is a lot like inflating a blimp with a bicycle pump. Anyone can do it. All it takes is time.
—Kurt Vonnegut, Palm Sunday, 128
No iron can stab the heart with such force
as a period put just at the right place.