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:
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:
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.
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?