One Skill that Will Take Your Writing from Good to Great

Halfway through the writing course, our instructor — not known for being one to sugar-coat — threw out a challenge:
“Send me a favorite piece of your writing and I’ll critique it; I’ll tell you whether or not it’s any good. The only catch is, I’ll be critiquing it in front of the entire class.”
A surprising number of us (bristling with hope and hubris I suppose) took up the offer. The ensuing session was, to date, the most illuminating experience I’ve had as a writer.
The key message we all took away?
Not that we needed to self-edit more tightly or have better ideas. It was this:
If we wanted to be truly great writers, we had to first write many, many words. And then we had to be willing to walk away from the majority of them.
Back to the session …
Find the single, golden line
The first thing our instructor did was throw most of our work straight on the scrap heap:
“Completely vanilla. If you have nothing new to bring to this topic, don’t add to the noise out there in the world about it.”
Next came her response to a 1,000-word piece of text. From it, she identified a single, golden line — the seed of a big idea:
“Start again with just that line. Throw away the rest.”
A rambling 900-word tribute to someone dearly departed? Ruthlessly whittled down to 250 emotion-laden words that cut the reader to the core.
At the end of the session, our instructor told

Original Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>