Tag Archives: The Artful Edit

The Artful Edit–A Conundrum

“While we write into a void, we edit into a universe, however ravaged it may be.”
Susan Bell

I just finished Susan Bell’s The Artful Edit last night. Well, sort of. I’d like to give you a full review of it. But the thing is, after singing the praises of the book last time, I got to page 86 and discovered that there was no page 87, or 88, 89. . .on through page 119! This is a significant chunk of the book–the end of the macro edit section and the first half of the micro-edit section.

So, my first response was, this can’t only have happened to my book (which, I believe I’ve mentioned, is a library book). So I checked online googling, “missing pages Susan Bell, The Artful Edit.”

Nothing. Nada. Maybe it is just me. After all, what my web search did find was a few wonderful reviews of the book, indicating that the reviewers had indeed read the whole thing (unless they were fibbing).

Thing is, I was all set to order a used copy on Barnes and Noble.com but now I’m wondering. Will the used copy also be missing those crucial 33 pages? To be sure, I think I’ll have to wait until August, when I can get my hands on the paperback. Surely they’ll have corrected the error by then.

My review will have to wait until I get those 33 pages, but I can say based on the rest of it this one is definitely a must for any serious writer’s collection–but wait for the paperback to be safe.


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I won, I won, I won!!!

Let me paraphrase:

THE BOOK GUYS LETTERHEAD HERE (use your imagination)

Dear Stephanie,

Congratulations on your winning response to the “Caulfield” quiz. You have a choice of nine prizes. . .

Ok, I won’t detail the nine, I’ll just tell you the prize I picked for winning the quiz on The Book Guys, my favorite radio show on NPR: A Book Guys Watch with the logo and slogan, “Reading Is a Family Affair,” along with the Center for the Books’ slogan, “Building a Nation of Readers.”

It was even signed by Kim Stypeck, who I’m assuming must be related to Allan Stypeck who co-hosts the show along with Mike Cuthbert, and runs Second Story Books in Washington DC, a fantastic secondhand bookstore I used to frequent in my grad school salad days.

I am so PSYCHED. Talk about luck; there must have been a lot of correct entries; the question just wasn’t that hard. In fact, if you go to the website, you can see them. I think mine was the May 8th quiz.

I was actually on the show once about eight years ago, when I learned that the Edith Wharton first novel, first edition I have was worth significantly more than the 50 cents I paid for it at a yard sale (but not enough to consider breaking into my house-FYI).

Speaking of Edith Wharton, I just got another letter from the Edith Wharton Restoration Fund. They have opened for summer business (and if you are anywhere near the Berkshires this summer, believe me, it’s worth a stop) and have another 6 month extension on the loan during which they hope they can raise the other roughly 2 million. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

In other news, I am still reading The Artful Edit and can confidently report it’s one of the best books on writing (well, actually, editing, of course) I’ve read in a long time. I’m heavy into the part where she discusses Max Perkins’ and F.Scott Fitzgerald’s co-editing of The Great Gatsby, from which we could all learn a great deal. The book is littered with my post-it notes, since it’s a library book and I can’t write in it; but I’ll be getting my own copy as soon as I can and hope to report more on it. It’s definitely going to have to nudge something else out of my top five books for writers category.

My niece and nephew are visiting, which means lots of fun kids stuff AND I’m not the only girl in the house for once. Last night was coloring and bracelet making. Now, we’re off to do our nails–and we’ve even got the sparkly polish!

Bye y’all,


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Writing Longhand and WIOTD Resurfaces


I’m enjoying a wonderful new book by Susan Bell called The Artful Edit that I’ll be mining for blog discussions in the next several entries. It’s divided into 5 chapters, Gaining Perspective, The Big Picture: Macro-Editing, The Details: Micro-Editing, Master Class, and Servants, Dictators, Allies: A Brief History of Editors. As a connoiseur of writing books, I can safely say, this one is a real keeper.

Right now I’m in the section on writing longhand. Since I’m a big longhand fan, it’s right up my alley. To quote: “the brain and the hand are connected. Once you begin to let an idea unfold, you keep unfolding it. Ink flows, ideas flow with it. When you type. . .into a computer, you don’t give your imagination the chance to really follow things through” (Freeman qtd. in Bell 17). Heather Sellers also writes a good deal on her blog, Word After Word, that her students who draft in longhand often have better, at least more fully realized, first drafts.

Amen! At first I felt I wrote longhand just because I like the sensuous feel of ballpoint (sorry, Monda) on paper. But now I can claim that the “brain-hand” connection is really tapping into my imagination!

Bell goes on to quote from a die-hard computer drafter that he lets his imagination unfold in a similar way by not allowing himself to look at the screen while he’s writing. I imagine this could work in the same way. By typing and “not looking” you don’t interrupt the flow.

I’m interested in my reader’s thoughts on this.

In other news, a wardrobe incident of the day resurfaced this morning. Just when we’d thought we had the sweats or shorts and a t-shirt uniform down, younger son informed us that he had to wear jeans and a plain t-shirt today because he’s in a fifties performance at school.

“In it?” We said incredulously. “You’re actually in it?”

He nodded.

Needless to say, this was the first we’d heard of said performance. So, after checking with the main office and learning that he did, indeed, speak the truth, albeit belatedly, this morning has been a rush of rearranged schedules. As another understanding parent colleague, who was part of the meeting I had to reschedule at the exact same time, said, “Look at it this way, at least he didn’t tell you he needed a tri-fold display on the praying mantis by tomorrow.”

Now there speaks a voice of experience.

That’s all for now. I’m off to write in longhand and then beam proudly at my little guy.

Bye y’all,


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