Cutting Words In Flash Fiction

Laser cut clothing. Active edge/ edge lit acrylic. Neon.

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I admit, I tend to overwrite. In every form of writing (except syllable-controlled poetry forms). So when I write flash fiction, I need to do a lot of cutting.

Word choice: First, I look for words and phrases that readers might not understand or might throw them out of the story.

  • slang

  • dialect

  • idioms

  • difficult-to-read names

Dialogue: Next, I look for wasted words in dialogue. Flash fiction tends to use very little dialogue so I cut a lot here and turn the rest to summaries of conversation.

  • unneeded interruptions

  • repetition

  • dialogue tags

  • adjectives and adverbs

  • correcting another person

Narrative: Finally, I look at the bulk of the story.

  • trivial details

  • modifiers

  • long sentences

  • anything not in POV

  • flashbacks and memories

  • words that could become contractions

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