Pave Your Road Using Less Words

Words have a power all their own
Words have a power all their own (Photo credit: Lynne Hand)

I read advice about editing.

The Daily Post on WordPress presented a writing challenge to bloggers: Papa Says Get Economical. Ingredients you need:

  • Paragraph from a previous blog
  • Keyboard
  • Backspace key

Remember cut and let go.

The Daily Post encourages bloggers to edit a post and use less words. No matter how long you’ve been blogging, it is good thinking to get to the meat of your words.

I’ve been blogging for more than a year.  I have written good posts and posts that are not as strong. My goal is to write like yourself with improvements.

I think of my work as a road full of construction workers and vehicles. One week they’re finished, and the next week they need to bring out a cement truck.

Take the Daily Post’s advice to your creative work. What can you cut out? What must you leave in?

Based on authors who inspire me, I write more words sometimes, or leave out more than I should at other times. I am editing a Young Adult book, Sons of the Edisto; putting together a Middle Grades story collection, Adventures of Elliot McSwean; and a poetry collection, Fractured Snowflakes.  I must put words on the chopping block.

How many times do I find adverbs? How many times do I find snobbish words kids don’t know or care for?

A lot and a lot.

No matter what language we write, there are words meant to fit in puzzles we create.

Sometimes words say nothing:

Why does a woman

rip a strong man’s heart?

He gave her every moment,

Every secret that he could.

But she made him cold,

as hazy as the winter.

Now his heart is ice,

and its exterior is wool.

The above verses came from a poem in my collection called Allison’s Shadow. It is cliché. It makes me vomit. What does it mean to rip? What moments did he give her? It does not work. I will break apart my work.

Below are verses from the same poem, all of which I’ve rewritten:

Little rainbows children paint

reflect in little puddles,

but rain boots splash and jump

until there is no more water.

Mother chose another man while they were together.

Father shut the door and cried in my husband’s room.

My husband knew then

what Allison did to him.

Now I’ve rewritten the poem to tell a story.

Using a critical eye is not easy. For a writer, it is essential. You must become your own New York editor.

How do you do it?

Read a lot of books. Read Stephen King. Read blogs like The Daily Post.

By Rebecca T. Dickinson

© 2007-2013 by Rebecca T. Dickinson. All rights reserved. No part of this  blog, Allison’s Shadow, manuscripts or related material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of R.T. Dickinson.

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