Friday, February 29, 2008

Chekhov on editing.

"Try to rip out the first half of your story; you'll only have to change the beginning of the second half a little bit and the story will be totally comprehensible. And in general there ought to be nothing unnecessary. Everything that has no direct relation to the story must be ruthlessly thrown out."

Chekhov to S. Shchukin.

I am mulling over this and wondering if this good advice can be applied to my novel...and decide that it can't.

4 Comments:

Blogger JL said...

In regards to Checkhov's work, 'ripping out' the first half is, in my humble opinion, the recognition that there is enough shared humanity in us to obviate the need for an extensive set-up, description, or backstory.

His statement is indicative of a belief that we know, or feel, enough about other humans to infer what the characters and situations are about without excessive explication.

This is, too, what makes Checkhov so humanistic and hopeful at his core; the spiritual optimism that would lead to such a conclusion.

Anyway. Just my opinion.

Fri Feb 29, 03:56:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Beautifully put, JL, and I am sure it is good advice. I may well take it up, even yet...

Fri Feb 29, 04:07:00 pm  
Blogger JL said...

I misspelled 'Chekhov'. How embarrassing!

It's a dreadful habit of mine to spell all Slavic names phonetically in English. Sorry.

Fri Feb 29, 08:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

I didn't even notice!

Fri Feb 29, 08:29:00 pm  

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