"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."
"As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out."
"Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be." (My favorite)
"The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say."
"Write without pay until somebody offers to pay."
This isn't about writing, but there's something profound in there, I think. “It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.”
“Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”
Another one not on writing ... “When angry, count to four. When very angry, swear.”
Twain had this thing about adjectives. “A man's character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”
For some reason, there are a lot of auburn-haired folks in literature. “When red-haired people are above a certain social grade their hair is auburn."
And, finally ... “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often."
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More EDITOR@WORK blog entries
Blog entries from The Auto Racing Journal
(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)
More blog entries by Tom Gillispie
Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie