Of all the modern writers, Hemingway was without doubt the foremost defender of revision as a proof of serious craft. He repeatedly stated that he more you could throw away, the surer you could be that something of substance was there to begin with, and I agree. Overwriting is not that hard to do and revision is a critical component of the writing process. I tend to underwrite and then as I revise, I go back and add what I feel is needed to clarify whatever it is I’m trying to say. Not necessarily the right way, but it’s the way I do it.
A friend says this is his favorite quotation:
I wrote a few children’s books. Not on purpose.
– Steven Wright
This has always been mine:
There are three rules to writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
– W. Somerset Maugham