Skipping Along with Elmore Leonard

One of my favorite quotes about writing comes from Elmore Leonard, who said, "I try to leave out the parts that people skip." I snorted the first time I saw this quote because it's not only funny, but smart. Poets are the writers who are best at this kind of editing and revision. My daughter is an oft-published poet. She can say more in 16 lines than I can in multiple chapters. I tell her I could never write good poetry - it's too hard. She tells me she could never write a novel - it's too much.

So, when I edit my work, I can be merciless in cutting out words that I thought were golden but were, like gold, unnecessary. And the revision is almost always better. It's a variation of the "less is more" approach to so many things (debt, for example). Since I do tend to ramble, I need to remind myself of the parts of my own writing that people skip, and delete them.