Writer’s Resolutions: The 6-Word Diet Plan

I usually forego New Year’s resolutions, but in 2015, I’ve decided to go on a writer’s diet. That doesn’t mean cutting calories, but words. I have always struggled to contain my verbosity on paper.  In the last month, I have cut 11,000 words of prose and 100 lines of poetry out of various projects, and golly, my writing is looking svelte.

I want to take a before and after photo of my short stories. The second would be like this:

Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Except instead of a guy I’d have a piece of paper wearing oversized pants, to show off all that word loss.


All good diet plans need exercise. So here’s my monthly routine of word-loss exercise:

  1. Write a haiku, cinquain, couplet, or limerick.


To celebrate the New Year, I’ll write a 6-word poem, in the style of my favorite poet, Ogden Nash.


  1. Write flash fiction.

In December, I submitted 2 flash fiction pieces to a magazine. I aimed for 1000 words. I hit over 1,400 and then had to weed.  It took me 3 hours to write each piece and over twice that to edit.

It was strenuous, but I did it mainly to condition myself for editing Waking Beauty. I figured, if I can cut 1/3 of the words out of a short piece, I can cut another 5,000 words out of a 160,000+ word epic fantasy. It really helped that my excellent publisher, Steve, targeted specific areas that seemed bloated. Like target dieting.

Is it weird that I sang DaVinci’s Notebook’s song, “Liposuction,” as I edited?

In 2015, I will write flash fiction with the following word limits:


January – 1000 word limit

February – 900

March – 800

April – 700

May – 600

June – 500

July – 400

August – 300


Oct-100 (now we’re getting down to the microfiction level)




To celebrate the New Year one year from now, I’ll write a 6-word story, in the style of Hemingway.

Anyway else have writing goals this year?

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