I've had a few conversations with writers lately where they confessed to me they weren't really sure how to go about revising their work in the best way. That got me wondering if there are people reading this blog who feel the same way. I'm one of those writers who believes good writing is about rewriting (and rewriting and rewriting). And I'm good at revising. But I didn't start off that way. Revision is a craft. It's a skill you get better at with practice. So in that spirit, I thought today's exercise would focus on revision.
Get out a first draft (or a second, third, or fourth draft you're working on). Here's the thing about revision - you don't have to focus on everything at once. So, as you read through your draft concentrate on removing words. The goal of this new draft is to get the word count down. It doesn't matter if this a postcard story with only 150 words - you want to tighten up the writing, because good writing is tight. Look for spots in your story where you are getting wordy. Where maybe you are going on a bit too long explaining things or describing things. These spots slow down the pace of your writing. Remove all unnecessary words or rewrite the sentences completely to make them more concise. Pay close attention to adjectives and adverbs - these are often places you can strengthen your writing by cutting. Be ruthless. Can you get the word count down?