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Picturing a World

Editing for impact

Blog alert: Artist James Gurney specializes in “imaginary realism,” illustrating prehistoric life and fictional worlds. His post, Courtship Display includes a short video that shows him painting a feathered dinosaur and explaining his thoughts about how to achieve effective results. I happen to be editing a passage of dialogue to enhance its impact on the reader and find Gurney’s thinking a delightful analogue from the visual arts.

Addendum: And it's not just dialogue. Gurney paints out some background figures that are not in scale and will not contribute to the main dinosaur in his picture. Extra characters, longer speeches, etc., have their place in first drafts; they help the artist picture a world fully, but knowing when to cut out the superfluous is key to the final piece.
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