Use fewer words

Cut, cut, cut to get published

Beginning writers often say they couldn’t possibly cut one word from their story, novel or nonfiction piece. Not true.


Every story whether fiction or nonfiction, be it a novel, history, memoir or other manuscript, can be cut.

  • Study Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style”
  • Editors and agents want a one-page query
  • Contests have a word limit



Jacob didn’t want to go to the mall.

Cut: Jacob resisted a shopping trip.


Lindsey could sing higher notes than anyone else in the entire choir in the high school.

Cut: Lindsey’s voice range exceeded all others in the high school choir.


Who else wants to go to a Memorial Day picnic?

Cut: Memorial Day picnic anyone?


Go back and see how much you can cut from your stories and chapters. You’ll be surprised at how fast you can get the perfect word to replace two or three others.


Article By: Jo Ann Mathews

I’ve been a professional freelance writer for several years and specialize in writing feature stories. I have more than a 1,000 bylines to my credit and have written on countless topics from autism to zoology. My columns on fashion and the Internet appeared in a Chicago area newspaper in the 90s. “Brunswick Buzz,” the column in The Sun News, the Myrtle Beach, S.C. daily, ran for seven years then “Events on the North Strand” took over in October 2013, also in The Sun News.

  1. Lynn Darby says:

    “Revisit” is another word I use that gets me cutting. Thank you for sample reminders.

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