Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sheesh...Cut it out!


We spent a bit of time last week, in creative writing class, doing some edits to editing our short stories. It's often been said that "sometimes less is more," and this is certainly the case in writing. You can read a myriad of 'how-to' books on writing and find suggestions for keeping it straight forward and to the point, but nothing quite impacts you like reading a book and saying out loud, "c'mon c'mon, get to the point already."

If you've found yourself saying that, it's likely that the writer could have cut out some unnecessary words, sentences or even whole paragraphs.

So, what's the point!?

The point is pretty much summed up in that phrase. "Sometimes less IS more." Give it a try. Take a look at your WIP and see if there's anything you could reasonably cut out. You may be sharpening your story!

11 comments:

Girl with One Eye said...

Void I do this all the time. My first draft is riddled with tons of to be deleted; extra words, fluff. I spent two pages on the girl fixing her hair....REALY?!? what the heck was I thinking? But I allow myself to ramble on because sometimes I actually stumble on some good writing and I know I'll edit the heck of it later.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My first book experienced a lot of cutting and for a while I worried it would become too short.

Great caption with the picture, too.

Jen said...

Actually I just had my crit group take a look at my very first chapter and they all gave me that advice "Cut it". I'm going back to the drawing board and plan to cut... a lot. Yikes wish me luck!

Great post!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Oh so true. I'm editing today, paring down the rough draft to something presentable, or at least not horrifically objectionable. And I always reduce wordcount on an edit. :)

J.J. Bennett said...

So true! They they the first time you write it is for yourself, the second is for everyone else. That's where the editing comes in and you get to the "meat".

Charles Gramlich said...

I've been reading some older stories recently and seeing that the less is more is becoming even more important in today's writing

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Very true! I cut my first novel down from 100,500 to 87,000. That was a lot of unnecessary stuff! You can sometimes suprise yourself with how much crap we write :)

Jonathon Arntson said...

It's true the Beatles are the success story of the past millennium, but their greatness, IMO, is based on their timelessness. I cannot help but be obsessed with them, but of course there are songs I can't stand of theirs. Three, to be exact.

Re: your post: wordle

Sara McClung ♥ said...

I LOVE that image =) And yes, less can be so much more! Finding the balance can be tricky though...

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Just realized I needed to do some cutting myself when I kept fiddling with this chapter that just wouldn't *work*. Turns out, it was slowing the whole story down, which was why it was being such a sucker of a scene - it was telling me it didn't belong :D Great post!

catwoods said...

I totally agree. Less is more. I just finished an anthology with three mini books in it. The middle one only got partially read as I skipped paragraphs at a time because it was so BORING. Too much "stuff".