Last week I wrote about adding in to make a word count; this week I’m going to talk about taking out.
This is something I don’t have to do very often. Like I said before, I’m very bare bones. I usually fall below word count maximums.
Unless it’s flash fiction.
I typically don’t set out to write flash fiction, but my shorter short stories sometimes put me in that ballpark. And if I can find a place that suits the story, I’ll look to start cutting to make the word count.
Since flash fiction doesn’t offer much in the way of extra words and since my story is pretty short to begin with, I’m not usually cutting huge chunks of story; it’s typically just a couple of hundred words. Which doesn’t sound too difficult, but when what you’ve got is what you NEED to tell a story and you can’t lose much of anything or risk losing the integrity of the story, it’s pretty hard.
That’s when creativity and word choice become critical.
Granted, word choice is always important, but it’s a true test when cutting a story that really can’t afford much cutting. I have to say even more with one word because that’s all I’ve got.
This cutting also forces me to get creative with my sentence structure. No time for detours, I have to get right to the point. I have to state the idea as quickly and succinctly as possible without compromising grammar (too much), flow, style, readability, or enjoyment.
I’ve done this to a few stories, however so far the success is only measure by my actually getting it done to my own satisfaction. I’ve yet to get any flash fiction accepted for publication. Not for lack of trying, though.
And it’s nice to know that I have the cutting tools I need to make my stories better.
Stories By The Numbers
-Rejected: 1 (“Such a Pretty Face” once again finds no love)