Benjamin Franklin says it all: “I have already made this paper too long, for which I must crave pardon, not having now time to make it shorter.” Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.”
The most common question which pops up in various contests I’ve judged, is: “My story is longer than the guideline’s length. May I submit it all?”
No! Writing short requires a much-needed skill. Revise so your story is written succinctly.
Below is advice on writing a short story of 100 words. It can be applied to all stories.
My favorite tidbit is this: “Think of the story in terms of a question and answer.”
Your answer will become the plot of your story. But brainstorm lots of options! If it’s too easy, your option may be too convenient.
1. Take a story you’ve written and tighten it. Can you cut out 100 words? More? Once you challenge yourself, the process can be fun and addicting!
2. Read your story aloud. Where have you “told” information? Can you show it with an action verb instead?
3. Choose a poem you’ve created and do the process of #1 and #2. Is the end result more vivid?
Cutting out vague words sharpens your writing and respects the reader to make conclusions. Use this new technique with all of your writing!