I worked with a writer once to cut nearly 300 words from a 700-word script. Few things are worse for writers than finishing a piece and realizing it’s too long. Where to start cutting? Here are some ideas:
- Look at introductory clauses. They are often wordy. For example: “at the current time” can be shortened to “now” or deleted altogether if the audience can assume the writer’s talking about the present.
- Examine verbs, particularly “-ing” constructions. Can you trim or replace them with shorter, more active verbs? Examples: “took off running” can be shortened to “ran” AND “conducted an analysis of” can become “analyzed.”
- Check for multiple adjectives and adverbs. Can you cut one or find a different word that conveys both meanings? For example, instead of describing a “rundown, deteriorating building,” use the single adjective “ramshackle” instead.