August 06, 2007



I'm pretty shocked that Gatsby's money wasn't accounted for until the revision phase!

It makes me deeply curious about how early versions of that book might have read.


You can actually read the early version. Trimalchio - Gatsby's original title - was released a few years ago and is readily available:



Mark this all makes me feel so much better.


the editorial correspondence between fitzgerald and maxwell perkins is marvelous. a favourite nugget is that perkins convinced fitzgerald to change the title back from the proposed, "Among the Ash Heaps and Millionaires."

The Individual Voice

I love his comments about the unresolved aspects of Gatsby's and Daisy's relationship being concealed by his "blankets of excellent prose."

JanePoe (aka Deborah)

I find it fascinating to read the thoughts of other writers on their work ... it's sad how many brilliant novelists never got to experience the true success of their efforts.

Kate Durbin

Congrats on finishing your revisions! What a relief that must be. And I'm glad F. Scott was able to help you on your way. I find Kafka and S. Plath's journals especially helpful when I feel like my work is particularly hellish-it's nice to know that other writers also sometimes want to kill their children.

P. Amy MacKinnon

Yes, congratulations on completing revisions -- for now. To pronounce them finished is a wicked temptation to fate.

Thanks for this entry; how reassuring. Makes me want to pick up my copy of TGG again.

Bill Ectric

When I submitted my first book, Time Adjusters and Other Stories, to iUniverse, I thought it was finished. Fortunately, iUniverse sends a PDF proof file and allows the author a certain number of free corrections. I used up all my freebies.

Some of the changes were simple typo corrections. Some were the rewording of sentences to "tighten them up." Done at last! Or so I thought.

When the author copies arrived, I couldn't make myself read it for about a month. I was too gorged on the thing. It was like the ancient torture where they made a man drink oil until he burst. Fortunately, all in good time, my appetite for writing returned voraciously.

When I finally did read it, I knew it was not finished. Oh, it was paid for and splashed up on Amazon.com, but deep inside, I knew it was incomplete in ways that, maybe no one else would notice, but I knew.

There was only one thing to do. I paid the publisher a substantial fee to make more corrections. I added two or three paragraphs to sufficiently account for the actions of the "dark priest" character. One whole passage of exposition seemed lazy so I beefed it so it strengthened the narrative rather than distracted from it.

I also redesigned the cover at the suggestion of Levi Asher from Litkicks.

Now I'm very pleased with the book. The thing is, a lot of people may not realize how demanding self-publishing can be. I need a Max Perkins?

Bill Ectric

Obviously, I need a Max Perkins even worse than I thought. That last sentence was not supposed to end with a question mark. I originally wrote, "Where is Max Perkins when you need him?" When I changed the sentence, I forgot to change the "?" to a period. Then, of course, I told myself, don't past a follow-up message, let it stand. But no, I couldn't. See how I am?


I'm one of David Leavitt's students at U. Florida -- thank you for the comments on Fitzgerald, especially in regards to his short stories!


Hey, have you read Susan Bell's The Artful Edit? She has lots of nice commentary on the Perkins/Fitzgerald relationship as well as Fitzgerald's revision process on the ms.

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