Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/177

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

THE GOSPEL OF INFINITE PAINS

Hewlett made a practice of re-writing all of his stories no less than four times; that each of these drafts was made with all the care that he could bestow upon it and when finished promptly destroyed; that the second would contain only so much of the first and the third only so much of the second as, by its excellence or its striking and peculiar phrasing, stamped itself upon his memory. Whether or not he really works in that way, such a method would, of course, account for many of Mr. Hewlett's peculiarities of style. But it might prove extremely disastrous to another author.

Some writers apply the Gospel of Infinite Pains from the first moment of their conception of a plot down to the last revision of the page proofs. Balzac was one of these. His erratic and laboured methods of revision are recorded by Théophile Gautier in his Portraits

[163]