Writing tips for emerging authors from George Saunders

12 January 2022

Words of advice for aspiring writers by American author George Saunders, and winner of the 2017 Booker Prize. This one resonates with me:

Know when you over-revise: those new to writing should overwrite just “to get a familiarity with their particular world. We have to learn our individual symptoms” of over-revision. “For me,” Saunders says, “the symptom is the humour goes out of it.”

In writings of mine there’s always the temptation to go into great detail about settings and environments. It seems to me if I over-revise, or cut out superfluous information, I know I’ve gone too far in doing so if the story loses its soul, or becomes too dry. But Saunders is right, overwriting is a great way to become familiar with the backdrop to the story you’re writing.