Trimming it down later

Words of wisdom (and cat photos) from New Yorker music critic Alex Ross, who’s been paring down his 390,000-word manuscript:

Midway through the editing process, I started making a record of how much I’d cut on any given day…. [O]ne of the chapters — the one devoted to Stravinsky — initially ran to 37,700 words, which is just hilarious. Kids, if you’re writing a book, don’t tell yourself blithely that “all this can be trimmed down later.” Still, it was a necessary process, and I’m sure I’ll find use someday for the section about English folksong-collecting and the five-paragraph analysis of Billy Budd and so on.


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