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Improve your writing through cutting back

If you don’t know how to begin to improve your writing through cutting back, you might like to do the exercise described below. It will give you a start, and soon you will see how you can move onto looking more critically at other aspects of the story.

– write a story

– change half the adjectives in it

– next, take out all the adjectives including the changes ones

– better or worse?

– take out all the adverbs

– take out unnecessary conjunctions, prepositions

–  now see if any deletions need to be reinstated

– compare versions and choose the best (in your judgement)

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The importance of rewriting

For many writers, the pleasure of writing comes in rewriting. It is not everyone’s favourite aspect of writing,…

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Find the shape of your story

Pick up one of the books you really like – it doesn’t matter if it’s fiction or non-fiction….

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Shaping the flow of writing

This is very odd, but when it comes to non-fiction I like drawing little pictures of the inner…

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Read As If Your Life Depended On It

In What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics the great American poet Adrienne Rich says “You…

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Reconsider the mundane

Think of a hobby or passion you have, outside of writing and literature. So perhaps baking, or dancing,…

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Rupture the mundane

I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but having the perfect thing to write about isn’t actually enough;…

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How to radically rewrite

Word processing has been a gift to writers. No more typing out pages and pages of manuscript, no…

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Reconsider, rewrite

Take a piece of writing. It might be a poem or short story. It might be a play…

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Inner critic

Identify your loudest criticism of yourself as a writer, and also consider what its opposite could be. Eg:…

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Asking… what if?

The term ‘speculative fiction’ is often used in vague ways – crossing a variety of genres such as…

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The importance of reading

Reading is food for the mind. Eat — read —well, every day. Read a varied diet. Some books…

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