Wordsmiths and storysmiths

by Heath Sledge

I read two great articles this morning (Steven Pressfield's "Wordsmiths and Storysmiths" and John McPhee's "Omission (What to Leave Out)"—go read them, I'll wait).


I realized that the best editors of fiction and creative nonfiction (the ones who helped McPhee see what to leave out) are those who are not only talented wordsmiths, but talented storysmiths. 


I need to pay more attention to my own "lunatic elf" and develop this skill. It might not seem relevant to academic writing, but we also must trust our readers enough to give them elbow room, to give them the pleasure of discovery. It's a fine line.