Oscar Wilde – editing

May 9, 2014

OSCAR WILDE spent the morning editing a poem. By the end of the morning he had managed to remove an “and.” By the end of the afternoon, he put it back.

This is the EDITORIAL behavior of literary writers. After 15 years, Toni Morrison (Nobel Prize winner for Beloved) returned to one of her published novels, to tinker. FILM ACTORS can’t go back to improve their performances. That may be the reason they often refuse to look at their work up on the screen. What’s done is done.

JAMES PATTERSON stands at the other end from the literary writer. He told Charlie Rose, “I outline a book with 70-80 pages, then hand it over to a ghost writer to fill in. I hire writers who have written a couple of books and have a congenial personality for collaboration.

Q. “Mr. Patterson, you have published 100 books. You have earned so much money; why do you continue to writer?” A: “I like to tell stories. I get a kick out of doing something as well as I can, and I have the confidence to do it.”

There is no way in hell that a literary writer could put out 100 books in a lifetime.