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Tips for cutting words

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Mrsnetpro View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mrsnetpro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 2020 at 8:06pm
That is what makes this story compelling and will be why it gets published if I don't mess it up. It has no relevance to my personal situation but is the byproduct of running through dozens (or maybe hundreds) of late night simulations to come up with something that is appealing. 

I blogged the last 60 days of my husbands life so that I wouldn't have to spend my spare time updating a bunch of family/friends/coworkers, wondering who I might have left off, and who wasn't given the daily update. Other than those people who knew him, nobody would find his struggle very different than what many have gone through. (Edited because I was redundant) On the upside, some of the minor characters do represent my "first" outline and there will be room to explore their journeys as well. 












Edited by Mrsnetpro - 01 Dec 2020 at 8:06pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eye-fight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2021 at 4:09pm
I find I can't get too attached to specific language - sometimes I'm particularly proud of a certain lyrical description or turn of phrase, and fight to keep it in, but have to accept that it may not be right for this project. Or I feel like I've hit on a really clever "plot twist" or symbol and keep stubbornly trying to shape the story around it before accepting it may just be too complex for 100 words.

Sometimes being open to change has other benefits besides shortening. My first draft micro this round tried to span three different time periods in brief vignettes. When I abandoned that I lost some significant story beats, but think that actually made it stronger. (And I still ambitiously chose to incorporate two scenes instead of one - guess I'll find out if that pays off or not!)
2021 100-Word Story, Round 1: Persistent Taste of Salt
Thanks to any readers!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Clare1564 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2021 at 7:07am
Another exercise to help with cutting is to force yourself to cut one word from every sentence - yes, every sentence! Sometimes this will lead to gibberish, and it is only an exercise, but it’s a really interesting process that can really improve one’s writing in my opinion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2021 at 11:03am
Originally posted by kristina_f kristina_f wrote:


I was curious why you would ever want an extra 25,000 words. Does that have anything to do with it being (Na)No(Wri)vember?

Trying to reach a real novel length? For adult-target books, that's a 85,000-100,000 words.  

The biggest joined sentence issue I see on NYCM stuff is rampant comma-splice abuse. As in "Jack went up the hill, Jill ran away." Those are two separate sentences that probably shouldn't even be used by a semicolon (which would be grammatically correct, but still unnecessary.) Just make two sentences. But I'm not good at fixing those for people because it's something that is self-evident for me and not something that was ever explained, except maybe eons ago in grade or middle-school. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Random Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2021 at 11:14pm
Originally posted by jennifer.quail jennifer.quail wrote:

Originally posted by kristina_f kristina_f wrote:


I was curious why you would ever want an extra 25,000 words. Does that have anything to do with it being (Na)No(Wri)vember?

Trying to reach a real novel length? For adult-target books, that's a 85,000-100,000 words.  

The biggest joined sentence issue I see on NYCM stuff is rampant comma-splice abuse. As in "Jack went up the hill, Jill ran away." Those are two separate sentences that probably shouldn't even be used by a semicolon (which would be grammatically correct, but still unnecessary.) Just make two sentences. But I'm not good at fixing those for people because it's something that is self-evident for me and not something that was ever explained, except maybe eons ago in grade or middle-school. 


My current project is a desk-drawer piece that will probably wrap up at ~250k words; it's at 90k and not quite half there.  I still use the same tricks from these events to cut words.  Near-infinite prolixity does not excuse sloppiness, but I can make sure the story flows clearly and even use one or two extras to swat out the gerunds.  Gerundectomies typically give me one or two back, so that's probably a wash.

Grade and middle school?  I was busy with survival, but to the best of my recollection we weren't taught English.  I know nothing of cases and tenses and parts of speech.  We were simply taught how to use it.  Must be nice to know that stuff...  Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Michael R. Evans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2021 at 5:02pm
Sometimes, when I tutor young writers, I ask them to underline all the essential words and phrases and then see how many other words can be eliminated. It's a very tangible approach that can help the writer's decisiveness.
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