Title: The Forest for the Trees
Author: Betsy Lerner
Publisher: Riverhead Books
If there’s one thing I can say about Lerner and Trees, buy it. Right now. Don’t bother with the rest of this review, or even the quotes I’ll be highlighting. If you’re a writer who wants to get published, and if you’re a reader who’s in love with authors, you may have found a career path. Just, buy it.
Rather than go into any formal review, which after fourteen years of publication (the links are for the updated, 2010 edition, but I checked out the 2000 edition from the library) there’s sure to be plenty somewhere, I think it would serve better to just share some of Betsy’s advice for writers. She’s got advice for editors, too, and I may share that at a later time. For now, I’m talking to the writers in the audience, because that’s really who Lerner’s audience is: the writers and authors in the crowd.
She loves you–almost as much as I do!–and she would do anything for you, even pull up the curtain on the process of publishing to give you an eye-full and maybe to set you off the high-anxiety calls wondering where your manuscript is and what she thought. But, that very anxiety is met and embraced with warmth, knowledge, and friendship. To say that being an editor like Lerner is the kind of editor I want to be, well, it’s an understatement of the highest order.
So, for the writers, here are the Top 5 writing quotes from The Forest for the Trees:
“But if you dream of having your work stay alive beyond your tenure on earth, if you hope to see it beside the unforgettable voices that are part of our literary diaspora, then you must be fearless in every aspect of your writing, from the syntax to the symbolism.”