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  • Famous Quote First Drafts

    posted on Wednesday, August 1st @ 11 am | jozimmerman

    I’ve found that one of the most difficult things in writing is to keep your sentences concise and to the point. For instance, that first sentence could have probably been shortened to, “The toughest thing for writers is to be concise,” and then that could have been wittled down further to, “Writers work hard to be concise,” and then finally we could just cut it all out and get to my point, which doesn’t exist. That’s really the writer’s ultimate goal – to edit your words down to nothing so that no one has to read anything in the first place. In thinking about the editing process, I wondered if the most famous quotes of all time had earlier, more rambling versions. I unearthed a few of these earlier drafts, never before seen until now:

    “The only thing to fear, is bears and wolves and ghosts and death and spiders. But ultimately, you should try not to be afraid of any of these things. Though I admit, it is difficult to avoid fear, given all of the spiders of varying size and color.”

    “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do to stop blaming the president for every damn little thing that happens. Jeez, step up and accept a little responsibility for your own crap life, it can’t be all me people.”

    “There’s at least twenty-three ways to skin a cat, give or take two.”
    -Cletus the cat skinner

    “Storms break branches, but they don’t break the base of the tree, unless it’s an extremely bad storm, or a really old tree that’s rotting.”

    “I have been daydreaming!”

    “An eye for an eye makes everybody look gross and have poor depth perception, so let’s try to avoid that strategy.”

    “That which doesn’t kill us, may leave us in a weakened state or permanently scarred, but that’s okay, because staying alive is what’s important, right?”

    “Two roads diverged in the wood, and I, I took the left one where there were more brambles, but ultimately it got me where I wanted to go because it was quieter and I prefer the quiet. Though at one point, I did have to fend off a vicious badger. That’s the main downside of clearing your own path – more badgers.”

    “All the world’s a green room, and all the men and women merely waiting to go on stage, complaining about the lack of beverages and worrying about the intelligence of the audience.”

    “I think and therefore I have a brain, and therefore my brain exists because if it didn’t exist I would not be able to think these thoughst, so therefore I must also exist. Unless my thoughts aren’t real, but just illusions that my fake brain has created. Woh, brain explosion.”