less is more

Don’t do this:

The following 99 word paragraph is filled with passive voice and adverbs:

Gloria was extremely tired and she walked lethargically from her car to the Quick Stop Convenience Market. The Market was brightly lit even at 2AM and Gloria was surprised at how many cars were parked in the lot, and how many people were in the store. She imagined for a moment that they had all watched the Oprah show about quitting smoking and, like her, were slavishly here to buy a pack of cigarettes after going enthusiastically cold turkey for three days. What else would bring so many people out at this ungodly hour? She was craving a smoke.

Instead, do this:

Here is the 70 word edited version:

Craving a smoke, Gloria trudged from her car to the Quick Stop Convenience Market. The Market, lit like Christmas at 2AM, its parking lot full, and a line forming at the register, made her feel less forsaken. Had they all watched the Oprah show about smoking and, like her, after three days of cold turkey, buckled under the pressure? What else would bring so many people out at this hour?

Compare the two versions and ask yourself what has been lost or gained in the creative editing process? Maybe you like the newer version, but feel that there was something in the original that you wouldn’t want to lose.

When doing your own edits It’s good to save every draft by copying and pasting, you can create a ‘drafts’ file –  this way you don’t lose anything as you edit, and you can decide at any time what to save and what to leave in ‘drafts’.

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