Monday, 9 May 2016

Married to a grammar assassin

Done. 650 words cut out so that the story now just limbos under the 1700 word limit for the competition. Now to worry about if the story’s actually any good!

Extraneous words removed, but does it still work?

When I first started writing, I didn't really believe in editing. I corrected spellings and grammar – that kind of thing – but I naively assumed that every word I wrote was vital to the plot or the atmosphere of the piece somehow. Experience has taught me differently: that words can sometimes get in the way of a story, rather than build it. The fact that I could safely remove a quarter of the words from this short story and it still works is just the most recent proof.

Now though, it goes through the most fearsome part of the process. Not submitting it to an editor, but letting my wife – a woman who studied English at St Andrews University and has more letters after her name than I have letters in my entire name – read it. She is the most sweet-natured person I know, but she can smell flabby prose from a mile away.

Where grammar assassins are trained

If I get it past her without it drowning in red ink, then I’ll have done well.

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