Monday, July 29, 2013

Take An Axe To Them!

by James Duckett

I'm back, posting again every Monday. My apologies for my hiatus, and kudos to the others at the Writer's Blogck for their patience as I got my life back into order.

So, regarding my title. I'm not suggesting you turn into a serial killer. This is an LDS-focused blog after all! I do encourage you to become a word slayer. With writing, less is often more. The fewer words spent describing something, the clearer it usually is.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

I feel terrible when somebody is subjected to reading one of my first drafts. I find myself getting wordy. I use all sorts of fillers or add unnecessary details. Worse, I find myself repeating what I've just written.

During my first revision, I might add a few things here and there, but for the most part I'm cutting like Edward Scissorhands after dropping acid. My writing improves more by what I cut than what I add.

Want an exercise? Pull out one of your more recent writing--the closer to the first draft the better. Take a page, and revise it with the intent of NOT ADDING ANYTHING NEW, but cutting everything deemed unnecessary or repetitive. Ask yourself, "If this goes, is anything lost?" If the answer is no, chop it. As a bonus, find somebody to read both drafts, and chances are they'll tell you how much better the second draft is.

I recently wrote a blog post, and it came out to 317 words. I took a break and cut, cut cut. I reduced the size by 40%, and I thought it got 200% better.

Try it, tell us how it goes!!

(In case you are wondering, I cut over 100 words off my first draft of this post, or about 30%. Thank me later for not having to read my first draft.)

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