Mandy Brown: The Cut

“What montage cinema has taught me is that it’s not just the cut that makes an edit work, it’s also the join. The join is kind of the response to the cut. It’s the other side of it. You don’t just cut something when you edit it, you also have to join it with something else and the join is actually where the meaning emerges in that exchange. It’s not the pulling away or the leaving out, it’s the bringing together that actually marks an edit.”

The Cut Mandy Brown on editing


Ebooks can be updated, but only dumbly: a new file will wipe out annotations made to an earlier version, and no useful convention yet exists for communicating what was changed and why. Our content management systems know of only two states—draft and published—either privately in progress or publicly neglected. No where is there a third state—in the world, but still evolving.

What if you could revise a work after publishing it, and release it again, making clear the relationship between the first version and the new one. What if you could publish iteratively, bit by bit, at each step gathering feedback from your readers and refining the text. Would our writing be better?

Writing has (so far) not generally benefited from this kind of process; but now that the text has been fully liberated from the tyranny of the printing press, we are presented with an opportunity: to deploy texts, instead of merely publishing them.

Mandy Brown