3 Quick Cutting Tips in Writing


Hemingway was the self-proclaimed champion of cutting, but many people will agree that it‘s not far from the truth. If you have read A Movable Feast or On Writing or Perhaps the Selected Letters, you might have found a lot of useful pieces of advice. For me, The most useful advice is on removing staff from your manuscript.

However, he wasn‘t the only one cutting a lot. Many writers have a difficult time cutting because they tend to love these parts the most and they are never sure whether removing something will make it less beautiful.

Let‘s see what some of the writers had to say about cutting.

Cutting Offensive things

I threw away about 100,000 words which was better than most of what left in. It is the most cut book in the world (To Have and Have Not). That may be part of what offends people. It does not have that handy family package size character you get in Dr. Dickens.

Ernest Hemingway – A Movable Feast

Cutting Adverbs

I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they’re like dandelions.

If you have one in your lawn, it looks pretty and unique.If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day… fifty the day after that… and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions.

By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s — GASP!! — too late.

Stephen King  – On Writing: A Momir of the Craft

The adjectives

When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them–then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are far apart.

– Mark Twain

What do you cut the most while editing? Tell us in the comment‘s section below.

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