Tight Writing: Literary Fat Reduction

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It is a rare thing to find someone capable of writing tight copy. The primary reason is tight writing falls is more dependant on your editing skills than your ?first draft’ writing skills.

What is tight writing?

When you write in compact sentences using simple words without redundancies you are writing a ?tight’ article.

The excess words are sometimes called ?fluff’ and should be avoided.

An example of fluff

Brenda rode her bicycle all the way to the park. Her bike was one of these old style banana seat bikes that her mother rode when she was girl and had a whip antenna on the back with an orange triangle at the top. She had made the decision to right to the park after watching a program at school on the benefits of exercise, which of course was something that Brenda found herself very concerned about since she learned about the health risks of being a couch potato.

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An example of tight writing

Brenda made the decision to ride her bike to the park. She made a firm promise to become healthy and fit after watching a program at school.

This may not be a perfect example, but the idea behind tight writing is to cut the fat. This involves the removal of redundant and nonessential language. In the above example the description of the bike had nothing to do with Brenda’s commitment to good health so it was easy to cut.

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If you read through your writing with a laser-beam focus you will find words and phrases that are unacceptable. These words have little to do with the advancement of your story or the point you are trying to make.

Many writers add fluff to their work to enhance word count, but an editor will recognize fluff and may ask for a copy revision. They may also lay your work aside looking for something a bit leaner.

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Tight Writing Pinpoints

? One of the most successful pre-writing tools is the use of an outline to identify where the story is headed.

? You shouldn’t worry about tight writing while working through your first draft.

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? In editing nothing is sacred, every word and phrase should be tested and reduced or removed as needed.

? There numerous tricks to tight writing, but the best is that if your sentence is more than ten words it may be too long.

? Always consider revisions, working to shorten and clarify.

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? Less really is more in writing.

Scott Lindsay is a web developer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of FaithWriters (http://www.faithwriters.com) and many other web projects. FaithWriters has grown to become one of the largest online destinations for Christian writers. Members include writers from all around the world. Please visit the website at: http://www.faithwriters.com

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