What Do You Cut?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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Re: What Do You Cut?

Post by Ermo » September 1st, 2010, 10:55 pm

Phew.... I'm glad others on here are "putter-inners." From all the blogs I read, you'd think nobody ever writes short. I was getting lonely (and a bit self-conscious).

Anyway, if I do need to cut, I do a few things. First, I identify all of the passive sentences. If they work just fine as active (and they usually do), I rewrite and that's usually a shorter sentence. Second, I find all the adverbs. Most can be deleted. Third, I find every "that" and see which of those I can delete. Finally, I'll trim setting description, if need be. Actually, I do the first three whether I need to cut or not.

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Re: What Do You Cut?

Post by Margo » September 2nd, 2010, 10:24 am

Emerald_Resonance wrote:I have been reading my current WIP aloud to a friend of mine...
This, by the way, is a fabulous practice, even if you are only reading out loud to yourself. When some writers and editors at a workshop suggested this, I brushed the suggestion aside. Later, they actually made us do it, and I was amazed at what I noticed reading out loud that I had not noticed reading silently. The trick is to read an entire short story or an entire novel chapter at one time. Reading parts (for instance, it's common in writing critique groups and in classes to only get to read 5-10 pages because of the number of people and the limited time) does NOT have the same level of usefulness.
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Re: What Do You Cut?

Post by sierramcconnell » September 2nd, 2010, 5:53 pm

jkmcdonnell wrote:
cheekychook wrote:Most often I cut the little extra words that just kinda sneak in...words like "that" and "just" which kinda snuck into this sentence, just like that. (Makes you wonder how the title "He's JUST not THAT into you" ever made it off a desk...but I digress.)
I guess 'HE'S NOT INTO YOU' might've come off a little harsh.
Actually, I happen to like "He Just Wants You for Fun" but... XD

And I also vote for reading aloud. Not only is it amusing, you can do voices! And you can act things out and it helps to get a good feel for the characters. But if you do this alone, warn people. I've had too many walk in on me laughing alone and they get creeped out. XD

Back to the original question, I have been finding myself cutting out a lot of extra talking. My characters, even the quiet ones, are too darn chatty. And the ramblers TALK TOO MUCH. "Which is just fine, but I told him, he could just do this and everything would be fine."

And you said that twice why?

Of course, I excuse it because I was writing while on pain killers after two surgeries so I think I have an excuse.

[looks at sentence]

Or not. Apparently I'm a redundancy whore. And an ellipsis whore. Dear God...they...are...everywhere! XD

I cut out at least 1,000 in extrenious detail and extra talking last night.
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Re: What Do You Cut?

Post by Beethovenfan » September 5th, 2010, 10:08 pm

Thanks for this post Margo!
I have gleaned a lot of good advice for cutting ANOTHER 15,000 words from my MS. *sigh* I'm at 135,000 right now and need to be under 120,000 at least. I have already gone through it a few times for the filler words and redundant phrases and "the knife dropped to the floor" phrases (of course it's going to drop to the floor, where else is it going to go??).

Now I'm going to go work on transitions. So, thanks everyone for your input! :)
Happy editing everyone!
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