Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Tight writing

All writing is about every word doing its job but that becomes an even more pronounced skill when you are writing something short, like a poem or a story.

We do receive entries which are not 2,000 words long but 200 words instead - and that is an art form in itself.

The length means that the writers had to make every word do its job and discard every word, every thought, every element of the story that slowed it down. Those stories were stripped to their basics.

Did they lose anything for that? Not really. They may have left the reader to work out a lot, think through what they were being told and where it was happening, but many of them remained powerful pieces of writing for all that.

So when people send in requests asking how long their story should be, we always remind them that our top limit is 2,000 words (for ease of reading by our judge) but as to the bottom limit? Well, it is how many words you need to tell the story. That’s the true of storytelling and always will be

John Dean

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