I have never read the Great Gatsby, although I’ve read about it in countless textbooks and popular books and heard it whispered through the halls of my high school. And I’d always imagined it as some untouchable work of art, with a topic so deep and meaningful that each word would be serious and profound.
So I got quite a shock when I began to read Bell’s analysis of the editing process Fitzgerald went through. The characters seemed human and alive, the story line had the lure of a soap opera, and every sentence was full of voice. It just goes to show that the classics are classics for a reason: they remain popular through out the ages because they have the power to relate to people of any generation.
It was also a relief to be granted a peek into a writing genius such as Fitzgerald’s editing process. It made me feel better about the dumb paragraphs and clunky phrases that fill my own story, and reassured me that yes it is possible to go back and completely rewrite. I just wish that Bell’s advice would stop giving me the itches to go work on my own story! I don’t have time, especially when I have to read and write this blog.