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 published an ebook, Women and Adversity, Honoring 23 Black Women, in February 2020 and Women and Adversity, Recognizing 23 Notable Mothers in May 2020. Now available is Women and Adversity, Saluting 23 Faithful Suffragists to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment giving the women the right to vote. Take a look at them at, and

  1. Lynn Darby says:

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

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