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Old 02-21-2013, 03:34 PM   #1
J. Garrett
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Trim it back

Today I've been working on a draft for a story, which will hopefully become the final draft, and my main objective has been trimming back overgrowth in my sentences. The bad thing about this story is that I wrote it while going through a phase where I wanted more complex and interesting sentence structure, to some degree that worked, but it also resulted in a lot of unwieldy sentences that went on far too long. Also, a lot of bloated sentence with too many words.

So, I've been cutting and I realized all over again how much fun that is to do. It sounds odd, but it's almost like a game for me. I try to make my sentences as short as possible, while still retaining all the important information. It all stems back to a kick in the backside I got from someone whom I let read an excerpt, they pointed out that my sentences were looking a little rough around the edges. Sometimes, you really do need that kind of thing.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:36 PM   #2
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Sounds like a bit of classic editing J. Garrett. Cutting out anything that doesn't contribute to the story and so forth. And then there is Mr. Strunk's advice to 'omit needless words.'
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:30 PM   #3
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I think we can all relate to the experience of going ouch when you re-read sentences written long ago.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:08 PM   #4
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I have been known to spin sentences on for a full paragraph... you just get rolling on something and suddenly woosh!

Chop away!
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:06 AM   #5
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Mainly I find that have to watch for redundant clauses and editorial notes. Things like "he looked around and saw". There's a lot you write because you write what's happening in your head, it's only when you come back that you realise that the reader will do many those bits for you, you don't need to tell them.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:16 PM   #6
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I can think of a lot of mainstream writers who could do much more with less. I used to enjoy Stephen King back in the day, now I joke that I stopped reading him since he decided he wanted to spend 25 pages describing someone walking across the street.
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:58 PM   #7
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This is so me. My sentences do run on . . . and on . . . and on. Even so, I have a terrible time building total word count.
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:48 PM   #8
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I would like to paraphrase that notable Prussian Marshal of Napoleonic times with a little twist:

~Today my children, we fly the Black Flag. We will give no quarter. I will myself shoot the first writer, I see give quarter to redundancy, or run on sentences.~
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:02 PM   #9
J. Garrett
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The book I'm working on right now had really bad problems with run-on sentences. I was just going through a phase! I've at least been able to improve since then, now it's just a matter of going through the whole thing and reworking about 25% of the sentences.
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