September 13, 2012, by Jon McGregor
Not An Instruction Manual
Lists of strict injunctions about How To Write usually descend into a kind of macho self-mythologising, and Rick Moody proves himself to be no exception by including “Do this [revise] twelve to twenty times” in this guide to revision. Eleven revisions would be one too few, Rick? Twenty-one would be overdoing it?
However, there is also a wealth of useful suggestion contained within this essay, which is downloadable from the Pen USA site linked to here. The trick, as always, is to take these thoughts from accomplished writers as just that: a thought, a reflection, a suggestion. Not an instruction manual.