“It is perfectly okay to write garbage, as long as you edit brilliantly” is a quote by C. J Cherryh. She has won four Hugo awards and is an acclaimed author in the genre of science fiction and fantasy. She has written over more than 40 novels. Her notable works include Downbelow Station (1981), Cyteen (1988), The Pride of Chanur (1981), Merchanter’s Luck (1982), Rimrunners (1989), Finity’s End (1997) and many others.
It is a great quote. The quote talks about giving yourself, the writer, the freedom to write garbage in the first draft, so that you have the basic idea written and then you can sharpen and polish the story to perfection. While writing, writers live in the world they have created. The world they first created in their heads and later on paper. Sometimes when the idea is still in the writer’s head it can be difficult for them to distinguish between what they want and know of the book and what their writing has actually made clear.
Editing the book after writing offers a new perspective and it helps fill the gaps in the plot holes. When the writer has an idea in their mind, they recreate the world they created in their mind to share it with others. Sometimes while writing, the flow of the story can be broken when the writer is thinking of ideas faster than he or she is able to write them physically. Sometimes what they intended to say can often be different from what they actually wrote on the paper. Therefore, editing can help understand where the flows was broken. While editing, in some cases, the broken flow can work to create suspense or create parallel story or situation.
The quote “It Is Perfectly Okay To Write Garbage, As Long As You Edit Brilliantly” however, also has a second meaning. A hidden message. The quote also tells that every hero is not perfect in the beginning of the story. He learns and grows along the journey. Every story has a hero who responds to obstacles. These obstacles are internal and external and they help him change by the end. We humans have an inherent need to root for the heroes. There is no single definition of a hero.
A hero can be someone who runs towards danger or it can be someone who is unwilling to face challenges with doubt and apprehension. The journey that hero undertakes changes him. It does not necessarily imply that it is a physical journey. It can be inner or an emotional journey. The journey that makes you grow, learn, change and evolve to become a better person. Character development is more about developing one’s inner self and being a better person.
Through stories we learn more about life, and about the world around us. Most importantly, we get to know how people in the world would react to certain situations, circumstances and experiences. In stories we see heroes and heroines of stories react to various situations. We relate to them, we try to assimilate what they are going through, how they react to situations and how they work through their problems. When we do this, in a way we prepare ourselves for such situations and try to become good human beings.
The choices, thoughts, words and actions in one or another have consequences. These consequences contribute to the journey of growing and learning. Heroes have flaws and they make mistakes. Along the journey as the story progresses, they grow and learn from their past experiences and mistakes. It does not matter how many times they have failed, what matters and is more important is how they grew, what they became and how they changed by the end of the journey. So “It Is Perfectly Okay To Write Garbage, As Long As You Edit Brilliantly”
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