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Monday, March 22, 2021

The Limits of Editing

Maxwell Perkins, dead these many years after he by Herculean effort transformed Thomas Wolfe's undisciplined outpourings into actual novels, did a disservice to novelists today who believe in the notion that all they need to do is get something on paper and some editor somewhere, most likely wearing a green eyeshade, will toil upon the novel until it is fit to print. They are mistaken. [Today, if an editor believes a poorly done manuscript has commercial promise, perhaps because the author is a celebrity, the publisher hires a ghost writer.]

George V. Higgins, On Writing, 1990

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