A weekly series of riffs in 200 words
‘What’s the significance of 200 words?’ asks a fellow writer.
The answer is ‘Succinctness Training’. Perhaps it’s a hangover from journalism studies where many students are stumped by the finer nuances of a word count.
Approximately. At least. Minimum. No more than.
All good guidelines. But when the brief stipulates a number, be it 200 or 300, it’s best to play safe and make it exact, especially in the pedantic world of journalism.
I enjoy being creative and flighty with my writing so journalism and I were never a perfect fit. In fact it was my mother who encouraged me to take journalism as my second major and I have never been more pleased by her foresight.
Journalism taught me plenty about research and grammar. It also taught me how to be succinct.
To my consternation, whenever I set out to write a short story of approximately 1000 words, I invariably draft at 1300 and then bring it home by paring off those extraneous 300 words.
So while it might seem silly to take time to cut three words, I like to think of it as practicing my craft.
The last words I cut today were ‘simple’, ‘perfectly’ and ‘short’.
(a) Fascicule is one part of printed work that is published in instalments