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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Great advice for writers and editors from The New Yorker

I've no idea by what act of creative accountancy The New Yorker manages to keep going but I'm delighted it does. To mark the magazine's 90th anniversary they've published this podcast which features lots of the magazine's key people talking about how the magazine is written and edited.

It's full of good thoughts. The secret of editing is not to come up with the best article but to come up with the best article the writer can write.

I like the one about the editor who told James Thurber not to bother improving his drawing because "if you get any better, you'd be mediocre".

I also like the other one about the editor who when she wanted to be abusive would scrawl the word "poetry" on a proof.

I think she was also the one who said "if you can't say it clearly it doesn't exist".