Last post we discussed writing for an online audience. Writer’s Digest posted an excellent article on writing blogs. One of their main points was that a blog post should be less than 300 words (though I've heard others say 500). As I mentioned last week, our TimeSlingers.com story segments were running from 450 – 1,100 words. The WD article got me thinking...what else can I do to shorten the story segments?
Obviously, shortening the segements isn't easy. I have to make tough choices (and, by the way, I really appreciate and value the perspectives shared by Sheree, Rebecca, and belle). Now, my task is to shave 100 – 750 words off my story segments to net out at around 350 words.
One thing I've been playing with is the way I describe basic elements of the setting (i.e. scene descriptors, time of day, the character’s surroundings, etc.). Rather than develop those items through the formal prose, I’m considering a different tactic: screenplay-like descriptors that introduce each scene. Here’s an example:
FRIDAY, NOV. 22, 1963 – 12:35PM
DALLAS, TX – TEXAS SCHOOL BOOK DEPOSITORY
This approach saves time by telling readers where the characters are and what time it is (crucial when you’re jumping back and forth through history).
Now, it's your turn to weigh in:
- What do you think of this approach?
- How does this approach help the reader? How does it hurt the reader?
- Do you have any other suggestions that might save time? For example, should I add the character names to each title bar?