Writing concisely is a great skill to have. It means you can connect with your readers in an instant rather than half a page, and that really packs a punch. But making the most meaning possible in the least amount of words can be very difficult. So, here’s a writing prompt to help you work on the weight of your words. Beware, this one is not for the faint-hearted!
Part 1: A story.
Write a short story starting with the sentence “We watched the sun rise”. It can be set anywhere, at any time, and be about whatever you want. Make it at least a page with as many details as you dare to think up.
Part 2: A paragraph.
Here’s where it gets tricky. Condense your story to a single paragraph. It may seem impossible to cut anything out, but you can do it. Think about what’s really important to your story and trim back the fat. We all have to ‘kill our darlings’!
Part 3: 25 words.
Turn your trimmed paragraph into (around) 25 words. Think about how can you merge multiple meanings into single words. This is where your vocabulary can come in handy. As long as you keep to ‘the point’ of your story you can whittle down your words and still get to the crux of what you want to say.
When you’re finished you should have three versions of the same story. This writing prompt is tough but totally worth it, because when you have your final sentences you’ll have some truly concentrated words and images. It also helps to see that your creative intentions don’t disappear with the words you cull, which makes it easier to write and edit your longer works. You can then apply this process to any novel or article you are writing and make your works concise.