A dull pencil is greater than the sharpest memory. - an English proverb
This Week's 150-Word Editor Blog on Writing: Compression - Posted 11/23/2015
Ah yes, the all too familiar mantra. Compress, compress, and compress some more. “No unnecessary words,” writing teachers preach, as if words were flakes of gold to be hoarded and guarded. I was in a creative writing class once, where the instructor recommended that I shorten “Mr. Finley had a neatly combed head of thinning gray hair, split down the middle, and an equally neat and gray mustache, shaved sharply at the two opposing ends” into “Mr. Finley had thin gray hair, and gray mustache shaved sharply at the ends.” I understood that the revised sentence contained all of the “essential” information from the original, and that it had a certain utilitarian appeal. But where was the soul? When I wrote and read the original sentence, it felt alive and frothy. When I read the revised version, it felt cold and flat. There is definitely an allure, and a sort of Icelandic beauty, in sparsity; Hemingway’s short pieces are a testament to this fact. But given a choice between the two extremes, I have to go with verbosity. Life is seldom straightforward, and you sometimes need a lot words to convey its complexities. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! (Read more blogs here)
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A special thanks to all the wonderful contributors (now published authors!) who persevered through the grueling publication process.
Congratulations to Jheanelle Owens whose bewitching opening to Distance and Constellations went the distance and past the 100 vote mark!
Congratulations to Michelle K whose delightful opening to The Book patiently made its way past the 100 vote mark!
Congratulations to Darrel CS whose mesmerizing opening to Sorry About That apologized its way past the 100 vote mark!
Congratulations to Susan J whose heartbreaking opening to 7th Period espresso shot its way past the 100 vote mark!
Congratulations to BoMarly whose Shakespearean opening to Hamlet muscled its way past the 100 vote mark!
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DullPencilPress publishes short fiction, novel excerpts, and essays written for the young adult/teen (YA) audience. It was founded and is operated by a group of passionate YA reader/writer volunteers to benefit the YA community. The stories are published in a yearly anthology series in paperback and e-book. Contents for the anthology are selected by fellow writers and readers of YA stories who choose to participate in the process through this website, as well as our volunteer editors and advisers. All profits from the sale of our books will be donated to support creative writing programs in middle and high schools, or to Room to Read, the amazing charity devoted to building schools and libraries in the Third World, as chosen by the anthology's contributors.
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