Writing versus Editing

Is writing more important, or is editing the crux of the matter?

Clearly, editing is writing, but, semantics aside, I’m wondering whether the creative aspects of producing a longer work of fiction are more important than the nuts and bolts of getting the syntax and grammar correct?

These two aspects of writing seem to me to be equally important. There is little point having creative flights of fancy if the editor’s imperative is forced to lie idle – a work of 200,000 words is probably going to need pruning; and, as many authors have reminded us, we have to have the courage to edit even those passages that we delight in, if they have no place in keeping the story alive.

Being at the editing stage, I suspect that judicious read-throughs are vital to what becomes a finished article. And, what is more, editing allows us to look beyond a mere word count and bring to light new angles that might otherwise be lost under the weight of our creative obscurantism. Judicious editing is creativity’s best friend. Bosom buddy, indispensable side-kick, major domo, maitre d’. Without editing, even my most brilliant moments would be languishing…

So that’s that, then. Sorted… except that, without the creative impulse, no-one would be mad enough to spend years of their life writing something longer than a shopping list without some hope of validation, would they??

Which brings the matter full circle.


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