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Anton Chekhov
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Engrave this Quote Another piece of advice: when you proofread cross out as many adjectives and adverbs as you can. You have so many modifiers that the reader has trouble understanding and gets worn out. It is comprehensible when I write: The man sat on the grass, because it is clear and does not detain one's attention. On the other hand, it is difficult to figure out and hard on the brain if I write: The tall, narrow-chested man of medium height and with a red beard sat down on the green grass that had already been trampled down by the pedestrians, sat down silently, looking around timidly and fearfully. The brain can't grasp all that at once, and art must be grasped at once, instantaneously. And then one other thing; you are lyrical by nature. The timber of your soul is soft. If you were a composer you would avoid writing marches. It is unnatural for your talent to curse, shout, taunt, denounce with rage. Therefore, you'll understand if I advise you, in proofreading, to eliminate the sons of bitches, curs, and flea-bitten mutts that appear here and there on the pages of Life.
-Anton Chekhov, To Maxim Gorky, September 3, 1899 Tell a Friend


 


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