Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Weed it and Reap

By Darvell Hunt

Stephen King said that some of the best advice he has ever received with a rejection letter from an editor was to cut his writing by 10%. “Kill your darlings,” he said.

That’s hard to do.

I recently had to cut a story that is coming out in this month’s Irreantum magazine, the official publication of the Association for Mormon Letters. My editor for this piece (wow, I have an editor, how cool is that?) made many suggestions, most of which I followed, but the hardest suggestion to implement was to cut the unnecessary bulk.

So I gritted my teeth, pulled on my best writing gloves, and proceeded to weed my story. It was a dirty, messy job, but in the end, I reaped the benefits of a cleaner, tighter story.

I concluded that Stephen King was right; however, being a writer myself, I figured I should say what I mean in my own words, which are these:

Weed it and reap; if you do, your target audience—which just may include your future editor—won’t read it and weep.


Anonymous said...

Great play on words. I loved it!

Marsha Ward said...

This is so true, Darvell. Tight writing is very much valued, especially in the magazine market. Congrats on the story sale.