Chat Replay: How do I determine what to cut & keep in my stories?

There seem to be two kinds of writers: those who edit by putting more stuff in, and those who take stuff out. One writer I know called them the Putter-inners vs. the Taker-outers. There are holes to be filled in almost every story. More often, our challenge as writers is to cut a story down to size, a process influenced by how much time is available to the writer, and how much space she has to fill.

But what to cut -- and how? Should you begin by cutting individual words and phrases from your draft, or should you cut bigger: paragraphs, chunks, sections? And what happens when an editor asks you to cut something when you think it is essential, or your best writing?

During this week's writing chat, we talked about how to determine what to cut and what to keep in your stories. You can replay the chat below at any time.

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    Roy Peter Clark

    Roy Peter Clark has taught writing at Poynter to students of all ages since 1979. He has served the Institute as its first full-time faculty member, dean, vice-president, and senior scholar.


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