A quotation I can stand by

“Good novels are not written, they are rewritten. Great novels are diamonds mined from layered rewrites.” — André Jute/Writing a Thriller

This is the most quoted remark for writers on the net. It is so well known that

  • it has motivated a best-selling novel of authorial wish-fulfillment
  • it is now being attributed to everyone’s favorite writer — see Who else has stolen from me?
  • it has been ripped by Launchpoint for at least ten cashinquick books (they’re all mostly the same inside) for writers, which is quite a bit more than fair use.

I suppose I should be flattered. The words are  from my WRITING A THRILLER. They encapsulate the writer’s need to persevere to success, and a professional attitude and outlook, and the concept of writing not as a splurge of self-gratification but as a process aimed at communication with a defined audience.

One has to ask how Launchpoint defines its audience if the same material (including the quotation from me) serves for freelance journalists, autobiographers, novelists, those in search of their writing voice, non-fictionalists, short story writers, those planning a novel, and business writers.

I’ve heard of packaged books, and of one-size-fits-all clothes, but this is ridiculous!

Clearly, for some, the words no longer relate to the writer burning the midnight oil, sweating over every adjective and subsidiary clause. Instead the quotation has for them become a meaningless mantra.

It’s definitely a quotation I can stand by, but can Launchpoint and those authors who have appropriated my words, or permitted their fans to appropriate my words on their behalf, say the same?