Hampton Roads Writers


Here's a revision exercise. Take a piece (an essay, a chapter, a scene) that you think is pretty close to finished. Copy it to a new file, or a new sheet of paper (however you like to work). Do a word count, and then cut away one quarter of the words. Yes, cut your precious work until it is only three-quarters of what it was.

Dare you try again and bring it down by one-third? Is one-half a possibility?

Sometimes an arbitrary assignment like this will help you tighten. You are forced to make choices, lose some adjectives and adverbs, move closer to the heart of what you have to say, and when you have done so, sometimes you've created a FLASH.


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