Advice From Famous Writers: Less is More

Advice from Writers

I’ve just finished cutting 40,000 words from a 200,000-word novel that I’ve been working on for years – proving the following advice to be so true.

“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”
— Blaise Pascal, mathematician and physicist.

“Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.”
— Henry David Thoreau, writer and philosopher.

“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”
— Marcus Tullius Cicero, philosopher and statesman.

“You know that I write slowly. This is chiefly because I am never satisfied until I have said as much as possible in a few words, and writing briefly takes far more time than writing at length.”
— Carl Friedrich Gauss, mathematician and scientist.

“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher.

“The more you say, the less people remember. The fewer the words, the greater the profit.”
— François Fénelon, writer & theologian.

“No one who has read official documents needs to be told how easy it is to conceal the essential truth under the apparently candid and all-disclosing phrases of a voluminous and particularizing report…”
— Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States.

“If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today.  If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks to prepare.”
— Mark Twain, writer.

Writing and Walking

Writing is an act of discovery. I’ve been keeping a journal since I was a girl; it’s how I access my inner voice – and quiet my mind to hear my characters speak.

Deborah Lee Luskin is a novelist, public speaker and educator.

There are still a few spaces left for Women Walking & Writing Toward Wisdom with Deborah Lee Luskin and Kate Lampel Link on Saturday, November 4, in southern Vermont. In this WALKshop you’ll learn how to turn the everyday activities of walking and writing into listening posts through which you can hear and heed your inner voice. Learn more.

writing and walking

Kate Link Lampel and I are collaborating on Women Women Walking and Writing Toward Wisdom on 11/4/17

10 thoughts on “Advice From Famous Writers: Less is More

  1. Definitely getting an idea boiled down to its briefest and most potent is difficult.

    On another note, there is a scene in the TV documentary series the History of Heavy Metal when they are talking to Malmsteen (too lazy to look up the spelling of his whole name) and he explains that some record producer told him to cut back on stuff. The producer told him “less is more.”
    His reply was, something like, “That’s ridiculous. How could less be more? More is more?”
    We can’t even agree on a cliché.

  2. Another thought, why is it that when I finish some incredible novels, I wish there were more to read?
    Sorry, I know I am arguing different points. It is just how my mind works. Contradiction is the land I operate in.

      • I am trying to do some writing at the moment out of the blog as well, so I find a lot of useful tips on writing and information as well as inspiration all of you being professional writers. Most welcome and Thank you again from me 🙂

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