Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Editing: Writing as Succinctly as Possible

Last month Salon.com published Two-sentence holiday fiction from fabulous contemporary writers. Some people say that Hemingway may have written the shortest story when he wrote, "For sale: Baby shoes, never worn."

My long-winded point? Whittle down your writing to make it as succinct as possible. Whether you are writing a poem, short story or novel, challenge yourself to cut unnecessary words. Let each word do as much work as possible for you.

As an editing exercise, carefully look at your outline (yes, even for a poem.) Then, cut each chapter or paragraph or stanza in half. I know, that's harsh. But this exercise will help you to better understand the core of your piece and what's unnecessary.


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