Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process - Omission Summary & Analysis

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Summary

In his early days at The New Yorker, McPhee turned in a 40,000-word piece on oranges. His editor at the time, Robert Bingham, condensed the piece by 85%. Upset by these extreme cuts, John asks William Shawn, the head editor, for a meeting in person with Bingham. Together writer and editor discussed the piece for five days and "enough of the manuscript was restored to make a serial publication that ran in two issues but by no means all of it was restored" (180). McPhee uses this story to make the point again that "writing is selection" (180). The writer must "select what goes in [and] decide what stays out" (180). According to John, "at base you have only one criterion: If something interests out, it goes in--if not, it stays out" (180). The length of a piece of writing should be sustained "by its selected material" (180). Later, when...

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This section contains 970 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process Study Guide
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